Syria/Iraq: Toward the end of Syriac Christians?

imgphp.jpgIn this media statement, the European Syriac Union (ESU) highlights the severe pressures faced by Syriac Christians in the Middle East throughout years of conflict. From the Iraq war to the uprising in Syria, Syriacs, also known as Chaldean-Assyrians, have been the victims of policies targeted at vulnerable ethnic and religious groups.

The ESU states that the Syrian uprising has cost thousands of lives, with tens of thousands tortured and a great number being forced to leave the country. More than 200 Syriac Christians have died in the conflict. The Assad regime has arrested a number of prominent Syriacs, such as Barsawm Yakup Barsawm, a high ranking member of the Syriac Union Party and Malik Yakup Hanna, a member of the Syriac Culture Association. They were both subjected to torture according to the group.

The disorganized state of the opposition in Syria and the lack of consensus amongst the international community have profited the Assad’s government, argues ESU. Christian Syriac presence and identity is a unique element of Syrian society and therefore the protection of the Syriac people must be an important consideration of regional and international actors.

The ESU urges the international community to provide assistance to Syrians and to pay close attention to the situation of the Syriac people. They believe speedy action is the key to saving lives and state that the ESU is ready to support coordination of humanitarian and material aid to the Syrian people as well as supporting Syriac organizations within Syria that work towards the protection of Syriac Christians.

Photo: Chaldean-Assyrian woman in Al Qosh, Iraq