Assyrians appeal to international community: “Save us from ISIS”

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An Assyrian woman breaking in tears while leaving her hometown of Tel Temir after ISIS militants took over several villages in the countryside, February 2015. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Qamishli, Syria – Several Syrian human rights organizations released an urgent call to the international community to intervene and stop the attacks of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) on the Assyrian villages in the countryside of Tel Temir in Hasakah province, in northeastern Syria.

The group of organizations, which included Assyrian NGOs in Syria, issued a statement, of which ARA News received a copy, saying: “We emphasize our legitimate concerns about the abducted Assyrian citizens and those stranded in villages under IS-led brutal attacks.”

“The IS terrorists have committed crimes against humanity, carrying out horrific killings, executions, slaughtering and raping,” the statement read.

“Thousands of people have been displaced and are now living in the open; they need immediate humanitarian and relief assistance.”

Conveying a message from the persecuted Assyrians to the world, the group said in its statement: “We appeal to all concerned regional and international parties, to bear their responsibilities towards the Assyrian minority group in Syria which is suffering under a barbaric military campaign by the IS terrorists.”

According to the joint statement, an urgent action is needed by the Western powers “to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis and end the misery of millions.”

Speaking to ARA News, Sanharib Barsoum, Assyrian activist and head of the Human Rights Commission in “al-Jazeera Canton” of northeastern Syria, said: “We repeatedly appealed to the international organizations and the major powers to intervene and the liberate the Assyrian hostages, but all was in vain. Nobody has taken action yet.”

“Thousands of Assyrian civilians in the Nineveh Plain in Iraq have been displaced, but no one cared about them,” Barsoum said, pointing out that the Assyrian minority in Syria is facing a similar destiny.

Barsoum added that two Iraqi Assyrian Bishops –John Abraham and Paul Yazigi– were abducted by radical groups more than a year ago, and  argued that “the international community hasn’t shown seriousness in assisting the Assyrian community yet.”

According to the Assyrian activist, “some local efforts, especially by Arab tribal figures, may help in freeing the Assyrian hostages.”

Over the past few weeks, the Islamic State launched major offensive on several Assyrian villages near Tel Temir in the western countryside of Hasakah, abducting hundreds of Assyrian civilians, of whom only 21 were released after mediation by some Arab tribal figures in the area.

Reporting by: Dilshad Ahmed

Source: ARA News

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