Latest News - Events...
in Al Quaryatayn by ISIS
are the Syriac Christians of Sadad the next target?
Urgent plea for aid for fleeing Christians!
Yesterday’s abductions of Syriac Christians and others in Al Quaryatayn are already a well-known fact. These abductions underscore once more the dire situation of Syriac Christians and other minorities in Syria.
Once more we ask for urgent support for the Syriac Christians in Sadad, where most of the Syriac Christians of the region have fled to. The Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Homs, Eminence Selwanos Boutros Alnehmeh, is calling for urgent help and support for the refugees in Sadad. His church needs to pay for rent for housing, medication, baby articles and food as well as support for further transport of people to safer locations (see annexed his letter with details).
We are extremely worried over the Syriac Christians in Sadad, which is only a half-hour drive from Al Quaryatayn. We fear that without reinforcement or help that they will be the next targets.
Furthermore we ask the EU Member States, Canada and US for more military support of the Syriac Military Council, YPG and allies in order to enable them to defeat ISIS in Syria. This will be the real solution to end this threat to our people and many others.
Christians in Syria warn NATO:
No Turkish intervention in Syria against the Democratic Self-Administration
We ask for peace but we will defend ourselves against a Turkish attack
We, Syriac-Assyrian Christians in Syria have been one of the peoples suffering most under the violence of ISIS. All the world knows that ISIS aims to kill us. In this dark hour of our people we created together with our Kurdish, Arab and other neighbours the Democratic Self-Administration (DSA) that now provides freedom, democracy, safety and stability for all the peoples in Northern Syria who resisted ISIS or were recently liberated from these terrorists.
We have created our self-defence force, the Syriac Military Council, that is growing quickly and is fighting against ISIS together with the YPG (Kurds), Sanadid (Arabs) and Free Syrian Army (Euphrates Vulcano division). So far we have been together the most successful force against ISIS.
We urge NATO not to give in to any attempt or demand from Turkey to attack the Kurds in Syria. Any attack at our common Democratic Self-Administration will unavoidable become an attack on all our peoples and we all will rise up to defend ourselves against any attack from Turkey. We already suffered enough under Turkish rule and we will not be killed so easily this time.
An attack from Turkey against the Kurds in Syria will not only end any hope of defeating ISIS, it will also create mayhem and bloodshed against all ethnicities in an area that already harbours many IDP’s from all ethnicities. We point here only to the fact that many Yazidi’s found shelter in the DSA.
Any Turkish attack against the DSA will give ISIS all the space it needs to undo any progress against it. We ask for a restart of Turkish – Kurdish peace talks.
We ask NATO not to allow the end of the only democratic administration in Syria. We ask NATO not to allow hope to disappear from Syria.
INFORMATION Rima Tüzün -- EUROPEAN SYRIAC UNION -
Head of Foreign Affairs --
ISIS attacks Hassakeh (Syria)
200.000 people threatened;
Call for immediate support to Syriac Military Council and YPG
Last week ISIS comitted terrorist attacks in Lyon, Soussa, Kuwait and Kobane and we deeply sympathise with all who lost their loved ones.
At the same time ISIS started a major offensive against Hassakeh (North-East Syria) and took its southern quarter that had been under control of Assad regime forces. More than 60.000 people fled to the nearby areas of the Gozarto Canton of the Democratic Self-Administration.
Now ISIS threatens all quarters that are under protection of Syriac Military Council and YPG. They stand between ISIS and 200.000 people.
The European Parliament called at 12 March for military support for Syriac Military Council and YPG. We repeat this call with extreme worry and urgency.
We thank for all the support given to the Democratic Self-Administration so far and we make the following appeal so that all this help will have long-lasting effect.
We ask the EU Member States, USA and Canada to send arms and other military support to Syriac Military Council and YPG as soon as possible.
After the attacks in all these countries it has become clear that we need to unite against ISIS and defend humanity, freedom and democracy. Syriac Military Council and YPG are prepared to fight ISIS and with military support they will be able to defeat them.
Release of March 12. 2015
CALL FOR SUPPORT FOR ASSYRIAN CHRISTIANS AND KURDS
UNDER HEAVY ATTACK BY ISIS TODAY
We thank the European Parliament for its focus on
our dire situation. Today you will vote on a
resolution addressing the existential threat we face
and therefore we need to inform you of the following
At this very moment defenders of the Syriac Military Council, YPG and others are fighting very hard to protect our peoples. ISIS is now attacking the Assyrian town of Tel Tamer and nearby villages and last Sunday was the last time our defending forces got air support in this battle.
Tel Tamar and nearby villages are all part of the Khabur River Valley and the target of ISIS since 22 February when ISIS abducted hundreds of Assyrian Christians.
We all know that if ISIS wins here it will go after all our peoples and kill or enslave them and put them through horrors. ISIS has proven this time and again. We face death and fight to live.
We beg the EP to take a stand with us and voice clear support for all our peoples and all our defenders. Without very urgent political and practical support for our defence all words will become hollow as all human dignity and human rights will be destroyed by force.
Therefore we repeat our immediate needs:
Lifting embargo on the Jazeera / Gozarto canton.
Official recognition of the cantons Jazeera, Afrin and Kobane, which had been put in place with the will of people.
Official visit to the Jazeera / Gozarto cantons from European Union (there is a safe area around Qamishli).
Military support to Syriac Military Council, Sutoro and Nineveh Plain Forces. Immediate air drop of ammunition in the Khabur region. Immediate continuation of air support in the battle for Tal Tamer
Political support to the organisations of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people.
The support from the EU for the minorities (Syriac-Assyrian, Yezidi and Turkmen) in Iraq to become their partner in negotiations with the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi Central Government in achieving a reasonable and needed degree of self-defence and self-government as expressed in the Common Declaration of these three peoples which has been presented in the European Parliament at 19 November.
The ultimate goal of ISIS
is enforce a breakthrough towards Iraq, confirming
that a defeat of ISIS in Iraq is insufficient if it
is not defeated in Syria. Furthermore the ISIS
policy of extermination of minorities is the same in
Iraq and Syria. Again we call that the
Democratic-Self-Administration can become a partner
in the war against ISIS as it stands for the same
human and democratic values as the EU and US by
showing a concrete alternative to both ISIS and
Rima Tüzün -- EUROPEAN SYRIAC UNION - Head of Foreign Affairs -- firstname.lastname@example.org
PRESS RELEASE March 12. 2015
Parliament calls allies against ISIS to co-operate
with Syriac Military Council
The European Syriac Union (ESU) and the Syriac National Council of Syria (SNCS) welcome the resolution of the European Parliament “on recent attacks and abductions by Da’esh in the Middle East, notably of Assyrians”. We warmly thank the European Parliament for its timely, alert and highly relevant action today with regard to our dire situation and the existential threat our Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people face in Syria and Iraq.
We thank the European Parliament for its courage to ask all allies against ISIS explicitly to co-operate with the Syriac Military Council and the YPG in their fight for humanity.
This resolution is the result of a joint motion from almost all Political Groups of the European Parliament. For our Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people this resolution is historically. Since the attacks on the Nineveh Plain in August, we are lobbying for a “safe haven” and with latest attacks on the Khabur region, we see how crucial it is that we can defend ourselves and are defended where needed. The violence and threat to our people and all minorities is real and the EP rightly stated today, that the measures against this threat need to be real as well (see p.7, point 8 of the resolution).
At this historical day, the defenders of the Syriac Military Council, YPG and others are fighting very hard to protect our peoples. ISIS is now attacking the Assyrian town of Tel Tamer and nearby villages.
Thus, the resolution of the European Parliament came just in time.
Tel Tamar and nearby villages are all part of the Khabur River Valley and the target of ISIS since 23rd February when ISIS abducted hundreds of Assyrian Christians.
The ultimate goal of ISIS is enforce a breakthrough towards Iraq, confirming that a defeat of ISIS in Iraq is insufficient if it is not defeated in Syria. Furthermore the ISIS policy of extermination of minorities is the same in Iraq and Syria. Again we call that the Democratic-Self-Administration can become a partner in the war against ISIS as it stands for the same human and democratic values as the EU and US by showing a concrete alternative to both ISIS and Assad. The European Parliament today called to co-operate with self-governing entities in the region, which have shown commitment to human rights and democracy and did so in the same passage as their call to support SMC and YPG. We hope that all partners in our war against ISIS will take note of this resolution of the EP.
Rima Tüzün -- EUROPEAN SYRIAC UNION - Head of Foreign Affairs -- email@example.com
Release of March 9. 2015
Assyrian Christians Attacked today by ISIS in Syria’s Khabur River Valley Need Urgent Assistance from Turkey and the International Community.
ISIS launched a major new attack on Saturday, Sunday and Monday March 7, 8 and 9, on Christian villages in Syria’s Khabur River Valley. ISIS armored columns streamed into the area, seizing all villages on the south bank of the Khabur and several villages on the north bank. Tonight, ISIS will try to cross the Khabur (whose water flow dropped sharply today) with large numbers of fighters and heavy weapons – vastly stronger than lightly armed self-defence forces.
Civilians and defenders call out for Turkey to restore water flows in the Khabur
river to make crossing the river harder for ISIS.
ISIS first assaulted this area on Sunday, February 22, capturing villages and over 350 civilians. Many were killed or sold as sex slaves. Only 19 were released, and the fate of others is unknown. ISIS seeks to solidify control of the Valley and press on to capture other territories and cities, including the city of Al-Hassaka, where thousands of refugees are sheltering. 1.5 million Assyrian Christians, Kurds, Yezidi refugees and other civilians are at risk. Refugees face a newly closed border with Turkey and lack of shelter, food, or water. They urgently need more international humanitarian and military assistance.
Therefore we repeat our immediate needs:
Lifting embargo on the Jazeera / Gozarto canton.
Official recognition of the cantons Jazeera, Afrin and Kobane, which had been
put in place with the will of people.
Official visit to the Jazeera / Gozarto cantons from European Union (there is a
safe area around Qamishli).
Military support to Syriac Military Council, Sutoro and Nineveh Plain Forces.
Immediate air drop of ammunition in the Khabour region.
Political support to the organisations of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people.
- The support from the EU for the minorities (Syriac-Assyrian, Yezidi and Turkmen) in Iraq to become their partner in negotiations with the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi Central Government in achieving a reasonable and needed degree of self-defence and self-government as expressed in the Common Declaration of these three peoples which has been presented in the European Parliament at 19 November.
The ultimate goal of ISIS is enforce a breakthrough towards Iraq, confirming
that a defeat of ISIS in Iraq is insufficient if it is not defeated in Syria.
Furthermore the ISIS policy of extermination of minorities is the same in Iraq
and Syria. Again we call that the Democratic-Self-Administration can become a
partner in the war against ISIS as it stands for the same human and democratic
values as the EU and US by showing a concrete alternative to both ISIS and
Overview war against ISIS in Al-Hassaka region
(Jazeera / Gozarto Canton, North-East Syria)
The Jazeera / Gozarto Canton is (roughly) the same area as the Al-Hassaka governorate, which is in the utter North-East of Syria. This canton is the largest of the three cantons of the Democratic Self-Administration areas in Syria. These three cantons share their common Social Contract, expressing their goal for a democratic and multi-ethnic and multi-religious Syria. Recent years have proved that these are not hollow words but a reality that is hold firm against all onslaught from both ISIS and the Syrian regime. Kurds, Syriac-Assyrians, Arabs and Yazidi’s as well as others live and stand together through this incredible difficult time. The Democratic Self-Administration based on these principles and putting it in practice is unique in the Middle East.
The Syriac Military Council (SMC/MFS) is the self-defence force in this region of the Syriac-Assyrian people, who are predominant Christian. It operates under the political and social framework of the mentioned Social Contract. Its allies are the YPG/YPJ and the YBS (Yezidi’s) as well as Peshmerga in the war against ISIS.
After the joint military operation of YPG/YPJ and SMC/MFS on 22nd February against ISIS in Tal Hamis frontline (East of Al-Hassaka city – see attached map) 22 villages have been liberated from control of ISIS. This military operation proved very successful and is still ongoing with major breakthroughs. So far Tel Hamis and Tel Brak have been liberated (1st March) as well as the villages around these places.
However in the Khabour region along the Khabour river (North-West of Hassaka city), ISIS attacked on 23rd February several villages and after days of fierce battle they managed to keep control of several villages on the south side of the Khabour river. Then ISIS took several hundreds of Syriac-Assyrian villagers. Both the ISIS offensive and the capturing of these people was possible as Turkey had opened the floodgates in the dams that control the waterlevel of this river. The unusual high waterlevel prevented supporting reinforcements to reach these villages in time and prevented villagers from escaping ISIS. Already at 23rd February the Democratic Self-Administration allied forces prevented further gains by ISIS and ISIS lost many of its gang members. SMC/MFS lost 13 fighters and around 25 YPG fighters were killed. The preparations for liberation of the places taken by ISIS are underway and we need international support to defeat ISIS in that specific area and defend the Syriac-Assyrian villages.
The fate of the Syriac-Assyrian captives
Hundreds have been taken by ISIS. 19 have been released last week and have found refuge in Hassaka city. Over the remaining people in hands of ISIS and local Arab tribes we try to negotiate a prisoners swap as the Democratic Self-Administration forces have taken more ISIS prisoners than the number of Syriac-Assyrian civilians that ISIS took captive.
The case for international support for the Democratic Self-Administration
We welcome the international air support by the US and other allied forces in the battle of Kobani and Al-Hassaka region. We note furthermore the following.
President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mr. Barzani rightly stated in the 51st Munich Conference that it is insufficient to defeat ISIS in Iraq. It has to be defeated in Syria as well. The Western powers are (for good reasons) very reluctant to put their ground forces in Syria and rightly refuse to choose Assad as ally against ISIS. The logical conclusion is that the Alliance against ISIS supports those forces in Syria that stand for freedom and democracy and lead the fight against ISIS. The Democratic Self-Administration fits in this category.
The Democratic Self-Administration represents not just a program or political movement but the people who live in the Democratic Self-Administration Cantons. The goal of the Democratic Self-Administration is to have a secular state that offers fundamental rights and freedoms to its peoples. This includes democratic rights and freedom of religion.
Its geographical positioning in Syria makes the Democratic Self-Administration the most obvious partner in defeating ISIS in Syria. Almost all ISIS forces in Syria are concentrated on the East side of the Euphrat river. The Democratic Self-Administration is the only force against ISIS on the ground on the East side of the Euphrat river in Syria.
The new peace talks between the PKK and the Turkish government create an opening for the international community and allied forces towards co-operation with the Democratic Self-Administration.
There is no Syrian state that protects our peoples. We ask therefore the international community to step in and support our rightful self-defence.
As Syriac-Assyrian Christians we have taken up our self-defence, as we will not idly stand by and let others (like the Kurds) fight and die for us.
As long as ISIS is still present in Syria, young people from Europe will have the chance to join it.
Recognition of the Democratic Self-Administration as partner to the allied forces, EU and EU Member States and international community for military and humanitarian aid is not only crucial for the survival of the many refugees in our areas but also for the victory of humanitarian values over the barbary of ISIS.
In this light our immediate needs are:
embargo on the Jazeera / Gozarto canton.
recognition of the cantons Jazeera, Afrin
and Kobane, which had been put in place with
the will of people.
- Official visit
to the Jazeera / Gozarto cantons from
European Union (there is a safe area around
support to Syriac Military Council, Sutoro
and Nineveh Plain Forces. Immediate air drop
of ammunition in the Khabour region.
support to the organisations of
The support from the EU for the minorities (Syriac-Assyrian, Yezidi and Turkmen) in Iraq to their partner in negotiations with the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi Central Government in achieving a reasonable and needed degree of self-defence and self-government as expressed in the Common Declaration of these three peoples which has been presented in the European Parliament at 19 November.
In all of this the survival of the mosaic reality and many peoples of the Middle East is at stake.
European Syriac Union | www.esu.eu.com & firstname.lastname@example.org |3rd March 2015
Our Future as Ezidi Kurdic (Yazidi), Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian and Turkmen in Iraq & the role of the EU
19 November our representatives to the EU institutes presented and signed our Common Declaration asking the EU to support our future existence in our homelands in Iraq. This declaration has the full support of religious leaders of our communities. Our Political Roadmap explains the Common Declaration.
The European Parliament has clearly stated at 18 September that it confirms and supports the inalienable right of all religious and ethnic minorities living in Iraq to continue to live in their historical and traditional homelands in dignity, equality and safety, and to practise their religion freely.
The Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian, Yazidi and Turkmen homelands occupied by ISIS are part of Sunni Arab majority provinces. There is an overwhelming evidence demonstrating that our neighbours were and are complicit (actively or passively) in the crimes committed against our peoples. We know that many Sunni Arabs are victims as well but that fact does not eliminate the crimes committed against our women, children and men. Enslaved, raped, kidnapped and beheaded, that is what happened against them. These very experiences have made the following paramount for our existence in Iraq.
We cannot simply return to our homelands as minorities in provinces that are dominated by those who allowed or committed these crimes against us. We remind that what happened this summer was preceded by a long history of persecution, disempowerment and discrimination. In order to have trust again in a safe future our peoples need to have basic self-control and self-defence.
We need a form of (semi-) autonomy or self-government for Sinjar, homeland of Yazidi’s. This applies as well for Tal Afar, Tuzhurmatu and Kifri, the Turkmen homelands. We need the same for the districts (to be fused together with the adjacent Christian-majority districts) of Nineveh Plain as homeland for the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people. We only need this to be certain of our basic security in the future. We do not want independence or isolation from our neighbours.
We ask the EU to support us politically in two ways. First to support the principles of self-government and self-defence for our peoples in our mentioned homelands. Secondly to implement this support by giving EU Diplomatic Support Teams to the (inclusive) delegations of each of our peoples in our negotiations with the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Government of Iraq. The goal of these agreements is a form of self-government and self-defence of each of our peoples in these areas. Each agreement needs approval from the people who live there via a referendum. We look to the EU Member States and the US to provide transitional forces for the time of return, reconstruction and referendum. Finally we hope that the EU can institute a reconstruction fund for each of our areas to repair the damage caused by ISIS. This process will ensure that our people stay and do not flee to Europe.
What we ask is realistic and not revolutionary. We are actually asking for something with which Europeans are very familiar with. This is in essence administrative restructuring, something that is really not beyond the realm of possibilities. Practically, it means that the existing district councils will either get enhanced jurisdiction or fused (Nineveh Plain and adjacent districts) and then receive enhanced jurisdiction. There is a real legal basis in the Iraq constitution in article 125 and articles 34 and 35 of the Draft constitution of Kurdistan are even clearer in granting our peoples the right of enhanced self- administration or self-government. In light of all that happened and is happening our peoples already created self-defence forces which can better get a structured and agreed place than that they are ignored. They are needed, we know that now.
We look to the EU to help us for a safe future in Iraq. We want to continue to be part of the unique and amazing mosaic that is Iraq and that is the Middle East, the cradle of civilization.
Contacts: Rima Tüzün (European Syriac Union): +49 176 628 70 683 / email@example.com
On Thursday 20 November at 18:00 at Eglise du Béguinage, Bruxelles you are invited to join a candle light vigil in support of the victims in Syria and Iraq. Christians, Muslims, Jews and members of other religions are standing up to send a sign of solidarity and peace. The event is supported by several organisations, such as Religions for Peace, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the Belgian Committee for the Church in the Orient, the Belgium Muslim League, the Council of Jewish Women of Belgium and others.
You can find more information on Facebook ForTheVoicelessBXL and on Twitter #VoicelessBXL.
largest coalition of Middle East Christian NGOs
in the United States and internationally asked
the Archbishop to remove Nihad Awad, the
director of Islamist group CAIR (Council on
American Islamic Relations) from a coalition
said to be aimed at helping Christian minorities
in the Middle East. MECHRIC said "Middle East
Christian minorities are offended by having
Nihad Awad and his Islamist group CAIR claim
they are part of a coalition in defense of
Christian minorities." MECHRIC argued that Awad
and his group are linked to the Muslim
Brotherhood, a terror organization in Egypt and
other Arab countries, linked to Hamas, and part
of a bigoted campaign against Middle East
Christians in the US and worldwide.
Following is the text of the letter, with copies send to many members of Congress:
Nov 4th 2014
Archbishop Atallah Hanna
Archbishop of Sebastia,
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
P.O. Box 14518, Jerusalem 91145
Re: interfaith Coalition to Protect Christians
Dear Bishop Hanna:
We have learned that you have sponsored the formation of an "interfaith coalition to protect Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East." We are troubled by the fact that among the NGOs and activists invited to join the coalition are a number of Islamist and pro-Jihadi groups whose agenda has been and continues to be hostile to the freedom and survival of Christian and other minorities in the Middle East.
Among the activists you have included is Nihad Awad, the President of the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR), which is an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Terrorism case and is not the civil rights organization it claims to be. For more than a decade, CAIR members and former members have been indicted, and some are serving jail sentences, for terrorism cases successfully brought against them. The Islamist organization is considered by experts as a front to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has inspired leading members of al Qaeda and ISIS (Daesh) and has been put on terror lists by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain. Several members of Congress, including the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Pete King, and the Chairwoman of the subcommittee on Intelligence, Rep. Sue Myrick, have considered CAIR an extremist Islamist organization. There are bills introduced in the US House of Representatives calling for identifying the Muslim Brotherhood as a Terror organization.
CAIR has attacked Middle East Christian leaders across America, including Copts such as Dr. Shawki Karas, Lebanese Christians, as well as Iraqi and Syrian Christians while also waging smear campaigns against prominent Middle East experts for raising the issue of persecution of minorities in the Middle East. CAIR stood with the oppressive regimes against Christians and other sectors of civil societies and backed the genocidal regime of Sudan headed by the ICC indicted General Omar Bashir. CAIR backs the Muslim Brotherhood, who in Egypt has been responsible for attacks against Christian Copts and in Libya backed the Jihadi forces responsible for violence against civilians. But even more dangerous, CAIR politically backs the Islamists and the Jihadists who in Syria and in Iraq have persecuted Christians. Some of these factions joined the Islamic State known as ISIS, which has perpetrated war crimes and crimes against Humanity in Mosul, the Nineveh Plain, and Sinjar against Christians and Yazidis.
CAIR and its executive director Nihad Awad have been notorious for suppressing educational programs, both in the public and private sectors, aimed at informing the American public about the persecution of Christian minorities in the Greater Middle East. Awad and his acolytes have politically harassed writers and intellectuals, academics who have been raising the issue of persecution of religious minorities and have become the main obstructers of truth about this persecution. In a sense, Awad and CAIR, by being supportive of the Jihadists and the Islamists and by suppressing the voices defending the persecuted Christians, actually bear some moral responsibility for the persecution and violence against Christians in the Middle East.
It would be unthinkable and unbearable for Middle East Christians and Yazidis to see a so-called interfaith Coalition presided by a Church official, partnering with haters of Middle East Christians and bigots against oppressed Middle East minorities
We therefore, as representatives of the Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC, representing the largest coalition of Americans from Middle East Christian descent, including Copts, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Maronites, Melkites and other groups, as well as Yazidis, ask you to remove Nihad Awad and any Islamist militant from your coalition immediately. Our communities have been offended by the presence of pro-Jihadists in a coalition claiming to help Middle East Christians and other minorities.
John Hajjar, on behalf of the Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC
CC: Members of Congress (Foreign Relations and Homeland Security Committees in House and Senate)
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman,
Senator Bob Corker, Ranking-
Senator Ted Cruz
Senator John McCain
Senator Lindsey Graham
House committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman
Rep. Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member
Sub-committees the Middle East and North Africa
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman
Rep. Theodore E. Deutch , Ranking Member
Sub-Committee on Terrorism
Rep. Ted Poe , Chairman
Rep. Brad Sherman, Ranking Member
Committee on Home land security
Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman
Sub-committee on counter terrorism and Intelligence
Rep. Peter T. King, Chairman-
Rep. Chris Smith
Rep. Louie Gohmert
IRAQ AND MIDDLE EAST MINORITIES AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL:
“No exodus from Iraq: self-defense and international
New York, Mideast Newswire
2nd of September 2014
In a historic visit to the United Nations Security Council and Secretariat General, the widest coalition of Iraqi Christian and Yazidi and Middle East Christian NGOs and organizations ever assembled to date appealed to the international community not to allow further ethnic cleansing of minorities inside Iraq and their uprooting from ancestral lands for resettlement throughout the world. The joint delegation organized by the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC) and the Yazidi International Human Rights Organization was received on August 22, 2014, at the Secretariat General of the United Nations and at the U.S., Russian, French and UK missions at the Security Council as well as at the Italian mission at the UN, which holds the Presidency of the European Union.
The joint delegation has requested the meetings in implementation of the resolutions of the MECHRIC Conference held at the European Parliament in November 2013 and the Middle East Christian special sessions at the Coptic Solidarity Conference in Washington, D.C., in June 2014. Both conferences tasked MECHRIC leaders to reach out to the United Nations and request an internationally protected area for the Christians of Iraq in the Nineveh plain in northern Iraq. After the barbaric attacks, massacres and ethnic cleansing by the “Islamic State” (Daesh-ISIS) towards the end of June and early July, MECHRIC reached out to the Yazidi community leaders and included them in a joint delegation to the UN.
During the month of July, MECHRIC organized a central demonstration in Washington DC and another rally in August, in coordination with the Yazidis, both in front of the White House, generating a series of demonstration throughout the world against the massacres perpetrated by the “Islamic State” and coordinated with NGOs to organize demonstrations around the world. MECHRIC and Yazidi leaders met with officials at the White House, the State Department, the US Congress and foundations to address the threat of genocide and ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq against Christian and Yazidi minorities. During the same time, MECHRIC officials reached out to the United Nations Secretariat General and the various missions and obtained meetings on August 22nd 2014
The MECHRIC-Yazidi UN Memo
The joint delegation included Tom Harb, Secretary General of MECHRIC, Sheikh Mirza Ismael, President of Yazidi International Human Rights Organization, William Yomaran President of the Assyrian American National Federation, David Lazar President of American Mesopotamian Organization (AMO), Abraham Buyuksal, Bethnahrin National Council (Syriac),
Medlum Merogi, Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council, Magdi Khalil, Coptic Solidarity International, John Hajjar, Melkite Committee, Eblan Farris, Director of Relations for the World Maronite Union, and Dr. Walid Phares, Special Advisor.
Below is the text of the Memorandum addressed by the delegation to the United Nations
The Honorable Ban Ki Moon
Secretary General of the United Nations
August 22nd 2014
We, the representatives of the below co-signing organizations, representing the aspirations of the Yazidi and Christian (Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac) communities in Iraq, and following the systematic acts of ethnic cleansing, massacres, assassinations, abduction, rape, and kidnapping perpetrated by the “Islamic State” against these communities since June 2014, urge you to request an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council to address the following urgent issues:
- In view of the fact that an international terror organization known as “Islamic State” (Daesh) has seized large portions of Iraq and of Syria, including cities such as Mosul and Reqqa, has accumulated quantities of weapons and cash to use in pursuing their genocidal action against Iraq’s ethnic minorities, particularly in the north and possibly in Northern Syria as well;
- In view of the fact that the Iraqi state has failed to defeat this organization and thus the threat by IS (Daesh) against the aforementioned communities continues to be imminent;
- In view of the fact that large scale killing and ethnic cleansing of Yazidis in the Sinjar area and Iraqi Christians, particularly Assyrians in the Nineveh Plain area, have been taken place and threaten these communities with eradication;
- And in view of the fact that the direct threat against the Iraqi ethnic minorities at the hands of Jihadists is part of a global threat and pattern in the region against minorities in general, particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt;
In view of the fact that ethnic cleansing and
genocidal acts have been committed against a civilian population, breaching
human and humanitarian rights as well as international law, threatening Peace
We urge you to draw the immediate attention of the Security Council to this threat to Peace and Security and request the following actions to be taken via a UNSCR Resolution:
Sending Peacekeepers to the Nineveh Plains and Sinjar districts in Northern Iraq under Chapter 7 of the Charter and establish a protected area for its civilian population;
Returning the refugee population, now displaced in Iraqi Kurdistan, to the two internationally protected districts;
Enabling the population of Nineveh and Sinjar to establish a local defense force to man their police stations and counter activities by Terrorists;
Coordinating the defense of Northern Iraq from Terror forces between the two above mentioned districts and the Regional Government of Kurdistan so that they become partners in the defense of that part of the country against future attempts at ethnic cleansing;
Initiating a special UN Task Force to find the thousands of Yazidi women kidnapped and abused by IS and return them to their families;
Establishing a special tribunal to indict and bring to international justice those responsible for the atrocities against the population of Sinjar, Nineveh and Mosul’s minorities.
We the undersigned organizations commit to assist you
in all of these efforts.
Meeting at the French Mission at the UN Security Council
The first meeting took place at the French Mission at the UN Security Council with Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative, and Ms. Camille Petit, second Counselor. Opening the discussion, Dr. Walid Phares summarized the joint memo and the resolutions of the two MECHRIC Conferences in Brussels and Washington as follows:
a. All willing refugee populations now known as internally displaced population IDP in Iraqi Kurdistan should be helped to go back to the Nineveh Plain and Sinjar districts in Northern Iraq. There should be no uprooting of these populations nor should they be transferred from Iraq to other countries. Immigration or political asylum should be considered as personal decisions by individuals and families. The international community should prioritize helping the populations go back to their lands and homes. The United Nations Security Council should issue a special resolution, under Chapter 7, pertaining to establishing an internationally protected zone in Nineveh and Sinjar with an interim force until a permanent political solution is found to the entire Iraqi crisis.
b. Yazidis and Iraqi Christian (Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac) communities should be enabled to man their local government institutions, including police stations, which should be backed by and under the interim authority of the UN until the national authorities in Iraq are reestablished and a consensus is rebuilt. The new UN resolution can act as a follow up to UNSCR 2170 regarding the protection of Iraq’s population from acts of terror by ISIS or other radical forces.
c. The UN would help the local populations of Nineveh and Sinjar be represented in the negotiations about the future of their areas within the wider talks about the future of Iraq. Among the rights already recognized for the minority populations of Iraq, the right for a province and the right for a referendum—acknowledged in the constitutional framework.
d. There needs to be an international tribunal to adjudicate the atrocities committed by the terrorists across Iraq and specifically in Mosul, the Nineveh Plain, and Sinjar against minorities.
e. A special effort and action must be directed at finding and liberating the thousands of women and children abducted by the ISIS terrorists during their attacks.
The French diplomats plan to share the memorandum and explanations with the French government in Paris. They informed the delegation that an international conference on Iraq will take place in Paris in September. The delegation’s Yazidi and Iraqi Christian NGOs requested access in order to represent their communities at that conference.
The meeting at the Italian Mission at the United Nations
The delegation was received at the Italian mission by Ambassador Ingio Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative, and Francesco Santillo, counselor and top expert on the Middle East. Ambassador Lambertini said the Italian Prime Minister was recently on an official trip to Irbil and underlined that Italy, currently the President of the European Union, wants an international solution to the ISIS dilemma and will be pushing for such measures at the UN. He added that the situation in Iraq and Syria is on the top of Rome’s agenda at the UN. Dr. Phares suggested that Italy convene an international meeting for Iraqi indigenous ethno-religious groups. Since France will be calling for another conference on Iraq, perhaps the two countries can coordinate the two events. Sheik Ismael provided factual details of the massacres against the Yazidis, and William Yomaran briefed the ambassador on the ethnic cleansing of the Iraqi Christians
Meeting at the UK Mission at the UN Security Council:
Presidence of the Council
The delegation was received at the United Kingdom mission at the UN Security Council, currently the President of the Council, by Lisa Maguire, First Secretary, and Senay Bulbul, Second Secretary of the Middle East division. The UK has thus far called two emergency meetings on Iraq and is currently focused on humanitarian aid. Yazidi and Iraqi Christian delegates briefed the mission on the desperate state of the refugees now dispersed across Iraqi Kurdistan and insisted on a resolution to bring back the population to Nineveh and Sinjar.
Meeting at the US Mission at the UN Security Council
The delegation was received at the U.S. Mission at the UN Security Council by David Richelsoph—Adviser, Political Affairs, Gail Horak—Adviser, Political Affairs,
Kelly Razzouk, Esq.—U.S. mission to the UN Adviser, Economic and Social Council, and
Peggy Kerry—NGO liaison. The U.S. mission welcomed the international NGO delegation, particularly the U.S. components and expressed its satisfaction to see “the widest united coalition of ethno religious minorities in Iraq and the region coming together to the United Nations.” Magdi Khalil reassured the U.S. mission of the unity among Middle East Christian NGOs and the Yazidis. “As NGOs we are now operating as a united front across the Middle East and in the diaspora. As independent civil society groups from regimes and governments in the region, we are openly seeking an internationalization of the issue of minorities within the context of human rights. The U.S. mission expressed its agreement with the principle of action to be taken by the UN Security Council to protect Iraqi minorities but noted that any stipulation of a Chapter 7 resolution must have defined objectives. The mission expressed its agreement with the principle of action to be taken by the UN Security Council to protect Iraqi minorities but noted that any stipulation of the Chapter 7 resolution must have defined objectives. The United States mission to the UN will be engaging other missions to examine the best ways to help the return of refugees to their homes. The Yazidi and Iraqi Christian NGOs invited the U.S. representatives in Northern Iraq to visit Assyrian IDP and local NGOs.
Meeting at the Russian Federation Mission at the UN Security Council
The delegation was received at the Russian Federation Mission at the UN Security Council by Ambassador Peter Iliichev—Deputy Permanent Representative—and staffers. He underlined that the Russian Federation supports the national integrity of Iraq and Syria. He noted that terrorism must be fought and defeated in both countries, adding this has been always the position of the Russian government. He added: “Russia as a Christian nation with a Christian president is not against the protection of the ethno-religious minorities of Iraq as long as it is done through the institutions of the Iraqi state. Moscow will be looking for consensus on this issue from Baghdad’s new government and the international community. Russia will not oppose the establishment of an internationally protected zone if other UNSC members would support it and Baghdad has no issues with it. Magdi Khalil and Tom Harb argued that the minorities’ return to their home cannot wait for the political solutions in Baghdad. This is a humanitarian situation which has to be addressed as such. The Russian officials agreed that the return of the population should be a priority and be backed by the UN, even though the future of the area has to be part of the future of Iraq as a country. The Russian mission said that, despite all other international complications, they will be reaching out to the United States and other permanent missions at the UNSC on this matter.
Meeting at the Secretariat General of the United Nations- Department of Political Affairs
At the office of the Secretariat General, the delegation was received by Darko Mocibob—Deputy Director, Middle East and West Africa Division, Yasmin Fadlu-Deen—Senior Political Affairs Offices, Iraq team, Ana Izar—Political Affairs Officer, Iraq team, and Sara Bergamaschi—OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). The two parties reviewed the humanitarian and security situation in northern Iraq and discussed alternative plans and measures to protect the refugee population and escort it back to their towns and villages. The Yazidi representative stressed the urgent nature of actions to be taken. “There are still thousands of people on Mount Sinjar, and ISIS is attempting to invade the mountain with heavy weapons.” The President of the Assyrian Federation, William Romaran, and of the Mesopotamian American Organization, David Lazar, underlined the dramatic situation of the Iraqi Christian refugees inside Iraqi Kurdistan and the necessity of rapid UN action to get aid to them and start the process of escorting them back home as soon as their towns and villages are liberated. Both representatives as well Mr. Abraham Buyuksal, representing the Bethnahrin National Council (Syriac), asked for an internationally protected area as a priority. The Secretariat General officials said the UN is highly concerned over the situation in Iraq and hence has issued Resolution 2170 (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2014/sc11520.doc.htm).
They noted that Mr. Kevin Kennedy—UN acting head, Department of Safety and Security—will be based in Irbil, Iraq (http://www.un.org/sg/management/senstaff_details.asp?smgID=175).
The delegation stressed the importance of direct Humanitarian aid to local NGOs working directly with the refugee communities and submitted a list of these NGOs to establish a direct partnership between these entities and the UN. The officials said at this point the possibility of an international force to protect the Nineveh Plain and the Sinjar regions is not yet considered but indicated that local police forces can be reorganized to protect the regions with international support in providing training. The delegation said it will be working with several governments to insure such a police force is reestablished and that a special UNSCR is issued to establish a protected zone under Chapter 7. The two parties agreed to continue the consultation.
MECHRIC-Yazidis strategic planning and follow up
At the end of the meetings at the United Nations, the joint delegation met to evaluate the situation and drew the following conclusions:
First, the absolute first priority for MECHRIC and the Yazidis is the return of the IDP population, now in Iraqi Kurdistan, to their regions in Nineveh and Sinjar. Not returning them quickly will open the path for several threats. One is the danger of mass migration out of Iraq, opening the path for further ethnic cleansing in the country and the region. All efforts have to concentrate on the immediate and safe return of the exiled population to their homes.
Second, the international community must insure collective security to the communities removed from their towns and villages independently from the political solution in Baghdad or the campaign against the “Islamic State”
Third, the Iraqi Christian (Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac) and Yazidi communities should be enabled to manage their own local government and affairs. They should be enabled to be in charge of their own police stations under UN auspices.
Fourth, endangered Iraqi and Middle East minorities should be under UN protection and should not be used by regional regimes to further their political interests. As they face the threat of Jihadists, these communities wish to be under international protection when needed, not under the protection of authoritarian regimes.
The joint delegation will be following up on this initiative with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the U.S. Congress, as well all involved governments.
2200 Pennsylvania Av.
4th Floor East
Washington D.C. 20037
June 29, 2014
"Mesopotamia's Christians, including Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs and other communities, are calling for a UN deployment in the Nineveh Plain in Northern Iraq under Chapter 7."
Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.
We the undersigned members of Middle East Christians Committee (MECHRIC) and other Middle Eastern Christian Organizations convened on the Capitol Hill on June 26th
2014 to highlight the plight of Christians in the Middle East have been deeply troubled by the anarchic crisis caused by the invasion and occupation of Mosul and Nineveh Plain and some Iraqi cities by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This is particularly grave news for the vulnerable and the already oppressed Christian community that now credibly fears it will be targeted for extermination by such Islamic extremists who are branded for being inhuman and brutal.
We call on the International Community, US Administration, Government of Iraq, and the Regional Government of Kurdistan to mount an immediate and decisive response to purge Mosul and Nineveh Plains of ISIS militants and to provide immediate humanitarian aid and protection to those impacted by violence.
We strongly urge United States and European Union to petition The United Nations Security Council to address this crisis to issue resolution under Chapter 7 to deploy international forces to secure our community in Nineveh Plain and Mosul of Iraq.
The current situation in Iraq and in many other Middle East countries have become tragic for the Christians as they face the risk of extinction in the land of cradle of civilization. If the Western World and in particular United States of America want Christians to be part of the Middle East community, it is now time to act and save them.
Bethnahrin Patriotic Union Iraq
Syriac National Council of Syria
Federation of Syriac Associations in Turkey Universal Syriac Union Party Lebanon European Syriac Union
Bethnahrin Women Union
Suryoyo American Association
Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council
Iraqi Christians Advocacy and Empowerment Institute
Assyrian American National Federation World Council of Cedars Revolution World Maronite Union
For more information, please contact:
Joseph T. Kassab President, Iraqi Christians Advocacy and Empowerment Institute (ICAE)
e-Mail: JKassabICT@aol.com Phone (248) 882-1912
William Youmaran President, Assyrian American National Federation (AANF)
e-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone (630) 400-5162
Christian Coalition for Syria
in cooperation with:
Rue Bara 152
1070 Brussels – BELGIUM
) +32 252 341 81/+49 176 628 70 683* email@example.com
Syrian Christians must have political voice at Geneva II
National Council of Syria (SNCS),
representing 99% of Syrian Christians, should be
invited to the Geneva II peace talks on behalf
of its constituents. The Christian Coalition
for Syria (CCFS), an initiative SNCS in
cooperation with Jubilee Campaign and various
organisations in Europe and the USA (www.ccfsyria.com),
seeks to rally worldwide support for Syrian
Christians to gain a voice in the political
Also known as Assyrians, Arameans and Chaldeans, the Syrians are the original native inhabitants of Syria and the Middle East and are internationally known as ‘Syriacs’. Having embraced Christianity at its birth, they should not be confused with the current majority of the nation of Syria, which is mostly Muslim. Even though Syriac history spans at least six millennia, this ethnic group has never gained constitutional rights in Middle Eastern countries. At the International Peace Conference in Geneva on January 22nd, they are again threatened with exclusion.
Peter Bronsveld, director of Human Rights organisation Jubilee Campaign, thinks it is “absurd” that the interests of Syriacs and other Christians have so far been ignored in negotiations. He said, “As this group comprises twelve percent of the Syrian population, at least twelve to fifteen Syrian Christians should be accepted as members in the Syrian National Coalition. While other opposition groups are given the right to join the conversation about a new Syria, Christians and other minorities are still completely ignored. The Syriacs must be given political representation.”
In the coming period the Syriac National Council of Syria, together with Jubilee Campaign and other organisations, will seek to mobilise churches, Christian groups and organisations to get involved and join the coalition. “We are dealing with 2.6 million people that are under immediate threat and need immediate political support from the international Christian community”, says Bronsveld. “I am aware that many petitions for Syria are circulating, but our effort focuses specifically on the support of a political party (the Syriac National Council of Syria) that represents the interests of the majority of Christians in Syria.”
Risk of extinction
The founders of the coalition are convinced that, without the support and intervention of the worldwide Christian community, the Syriacs are threatened with extinction or with permanent exile from the land that bears their name. At least 600,000 of the 2.6 million Christians living in Syria before the war are now homeless or have fled abroad. As a result of the conflict, thousands of Christians have been killed—often tortured or were summarily executed because of their faith—including various prominent church leaders who were kidnapped, tortured and killed.
The CCFS calls for the international Christian community to join this initiative by endorsing the recommendations of the coalition. These can be found on the website www.ccfssyria.com.
On January 22nd, the coalition intends to join with an official delegation of the Syriac National
Council of Syria and travel with them to Geneva to present the recommendations and statements of support.