Syrian Christians on front line have sad Christmas, again

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BY Wilson Fache Sarkoun Selio, a 50-year-old Assyrian Christian Syrian and one of the few Assyrians still living there, walks in the ruins of the Assyrian Church of the Virgin Mary, which was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) group fighters, in the village of Tal Nasri south of the town of Tal Tamr in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province, Nov. 15, 2019.
KHABUR VALLEY, Syria — A Kalashnikov rifle slung over his shoulder, 21-year-old Ninos Akhtiar jumped into the back of a Toyota pickup truck with three other fighters from a Christian Assyrian militia. The vehicle drove through the northeastern Syrian town of Tal Tamr, bathed in a soft golden light.

As dusk approached, the surrounding countryside looked peaceful — but appearances are deceiving. The fields have become a no-man’s-land and the Khabur River, a front line. 

“Over there, it’s the Russians. These are the positions of the Syrian regime. Here, the People’s Protection Units [YPG, the Kurdish forces]. The Americans patrolled two days ago. And opposite to us, it is the Turkish-backed groups,” Akhtiar, pointing his finger toward different villages, told al-Monitor.

A mischievous smile appeared on his youthful face: “It’s like the World Cup!”

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