Tensions Remain High in NE Syria

11/23/2019 Syria (International Christian Concern) – The October invasion by Turkey into northeastern Syria continues to have significant repercussions for locals who belong to ethnic and religious minority groups. Turkish Sponsored Organizations (TSOs) pursue skirmishes throughout the region and maintain a pattern of using an extreme Islamic ideology to justify their human rights abuses.

The Christian town of Tal Tamr continues to be a focal point in this week’s invasion activities. Some media outlets, including Iranian state news, reported that Russia, Turkey, and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have come to a ceasefire agreement in the area impacting Tal Tamr. This agreement would allow the Syrian regime and Russian military to control Tal Tamr. However, the SDF have subsequently denied any truth to these reports.

Following these conflicting reports, the SDF and Syriac Military Council (SMC) released a video which showed the SMC preparing themselves for a Turkish led attack against Tal Tamr. The SMC is a Christian led militia who maintains a strong presence in the areas of Qamishli and Hasakah.

Broadly speaking, Syrian Christians remain terrified of the chaos caused by the Turkish invasion. Many TSOs have recruited among the ranks of terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda and al-Nusra. Meanwhile, the invasion has created an opportunity for ISIS to reassert itself in the region. Earlier this month, ISIS assassinated 2 priests, injured a deacon, and targeted 3 Christian areas in Qamishli.