Christians in Syria greatly imperilled as they get caught up between Kurdish militias and Syrian army forces combating ISIS militants for control of Hassaka province.
Syriac Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo said, “We are going through a terrible moment. The jihadists of the Islamic State attacked Hassaka for two days. They were warded off by the Syrian army and Kurdish militias. But we are cut off, like an island surrounded by jihadists from all sides.”
However, few months back about 1,000 Assyrian Christian families were forced to flee from their village homes along the Khabur River by the Islamic State militants. These Christians fled to Qamishli and Hassaka city.
Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East told World Watch Monitor that, “The situation in Hassaka is bad, and very fragile. The clashes have now come close to the suburbs of Hassaka city, where the archbishops of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Syriac Catholic Church are headquartered. Only 800 Christian families remain in the province. Assyrian Christians are facing a danger that threatens their existence in their historical regions.”
Hassaka is not the only area under the control of armed militant Islamist groups, but Assyrians Christians are being influenced by the Syrian government, which demonstrates itself as the lone option to protect Syria’s threatened religious minorities. Historically, the Assyrian Christians find their roots linked with the Syriac and Chaldean Christians of Turkey and Iraq.