ISIS militants bomb Assyrian church on Easter holiday in Syria

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A file photo of the Assyrian Church which was reportedly bombed by ISIS militants Sunday, April 5, 2015
Tel Temir, Syria – On Sunday militant fighters of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) blew up the church of the Virgin Mary, in the Assyrian village of Tel Nasri near the town of Tel Temir (50 km west of Hasakah) in northeastern Syria.
The bombing of the church coincided with the first day of the Assyrian Christian’s Easter holiday.

Pro-IS media sources reported that the Islamic State launched an offensive on what they described the “polytheistic Assyrian church” in Tel Nasri and they were able to destroy major parts of it.

The news of bombing the church in the village of Tel Nasri raised concerns among the Assyrian community in the region of diaspora and the possible massacres to be committed by IS militants against the Assyrian prisoners in the group’s detentions months ago.

In a statement Sunday the Assyrian Network for Human Rights condemned the IS attack on the Church of Virgin Mary, considering it “a war crime according to international humanitarian law-which prohibits the targeting of religious facilities during the armed conflicts for any reason”.

Speaking to ARA News in Tel Temir, Ninos Marqas, a Assyrian fighter from the Haras al-Khaboor (a force that fights alongside the Kurdish YPG against ISIS), said that Tel Temir has been completely evacuated of civilians, and turned into a military zone.

“We will fight them (IS). They will be expelled from our villages,” he added, pointing out that they will treat IS militants as enemies of humanity.

“Tel Nasri will be the key to cleanse the Assyrian villages of Khaboor (Tel Shamiram, Tel Maghas, Goran and other villages) from the dirt of those barbaric extremists,” Marqas told ARA News.

Samir Abu Ashur, an Assyrian immigrant in Australia, commented on the bombing of the church, saying: “We’ve been a peaceful community throughout history; why did these terrorists commit genocides against us?”

“We (Assyrians) call on the international community to put an end to the brutal crimes committed in Syria against the Assyrians and all people of the region at the hands of Daesh (IS group), and the rest of the military factions fighting in Syria since 2011? he said.

The joint forces in Tel Temir issued a statement on Sunday, saying: “A campaign of regaining the area of Tel Temir and the villages of Khaboor will be launched soon, taking revenge for our martyrs who fell by the machine guns of the terrorists.”

Reporting by: Ibrahim Ali

Source: ARA News