Mardean Issac,the Leader of the UK Branch of A Campaign: Christians in Their Homelands of Iraq and Syria Demand Protection

By Mardean Issac/Assist
Refugees desperate for water
My name is Mardean Isaac. I’m a British-Assyrian writer, journalist, and researcher. I am the leader of the UK branch of a campaign to protect Assyrian Christians in their homelands of Iraq and Syria.
Below is an e-mail that was sent out by Assyrians in 12 different countries on Wednesday. It outlines our demand for immediate action.

Dear ministers, parliamentarians, officials, and concerned citizens,

An Assyrian child flees ISIS
invasion in Qaraqosh



We are writing on behalf of our people, the Assyrian Christians, as well as their fellow minorities, who are facing genocide in their homelands of Iraq and Syria.

Following the domestic invasion of Iraq and the occupation of northern Syria by Islamists, Assyrians – a people who also include Chaldean and Syriac Orthodox denominations – have become the victims of daily kidnappings, robberies, rapes, and murders. Assyrians are being violently targeted for their religion, and have absolutely no means of self-defense, let alone legal or political recourse.

In the days following the ISIS onslaught, thousands of Christians fled Mosul amid the forceful imposition of Islamic law and the looting of homes and churches. An estimated 2,000 Christians remain in Mosul; prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, their number was around 130,000. These last two Sundays, for the first time in 1600 years, no church in Mosul held Mass. Many among those who have fled to the Nineveh Plains face a situation of great uncertainty and are in urgent need of aid.

Assyrians refugees
plead for water

The Assyrian town of Qaraqosh, located in the Nineveh Plains around 32 km from Mosul, was emptied of almost all of its inhabitants as ISIS assailed it on June 26. Around 40,000 people fled north, often with nothing but the clothes on their back. The migration was desperate and chaotic, and the destination entirely uncertain. Qaraqosh is currently in the midst of heavy fighting, and electricity and water have been cut, ruling out the possibility of return for the departed and leaving the few men who stayed to defend their houses and churches in a grave situation. The video reportage we have linked to below provides vivid footage of this pandemonium.

These recent events follow a broader pattern of terror unleashed against Iraqi Christians since the invasion. 73 churches have been attacked or bombed across Iraq. Dozens of priests have been kidnapped or murdered. Thousands of Assyrians have been the victims of violence, and regions and cities, including Baghdad, have been largely emptied of their indigenous Christian inhabitants.

A similarly grim fate is being forced upon the Assyrians of Syria as large swathes of that country fall to Islamist militants. More than half the Christians of Iraq have fled, and the same exodus is being repeated in Syria. For the first time in history, there are more Assyrians in diaspora than in their ancient homelands of Iraq and Syria.

Another child fleeing to safety

We members of the Assyrian diaspora – tax-paying, law-abiding, productive citizens of our adopted countries – are being told hourly of unspeakable stories of terror and abuse taking place in the homes and communities of our friends and relatives. A small and dedicated group of writers has chronicled some of these stories. But the western media has long been silent regarding our plight, and mainstream coverage of this ongoing genocide has been scant. Political support has been even less forthcoming.

We represent a broad community of journalists, activists, and academics, all of whom are ready to provide all the knowledge, information and testimonies you require to mount a desperately needed case on our behalf.

It is no longer possible for those who possess political influence to claim ignorance of the urgent crisis facing Assyrians. Enclosed below are links to some of the reports and articles on our plight, which illustrate the grave consequences of the international community’s inaction.

We also wish to express our solidarity with the other minority peoples of Iraq and Syria, including but not limited to Mandaeans, Shabaks, Yezidis, and Turkomen, all of whom have faced similar struggles in safeguarding their security and ensuring their continuing presence in the region.