Islamic State militants destroy Assyrian churches northern Syria

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A damaged Syrian church. File photo

ARA News

Hasakah, Syria – Radicals of the Islamic State’s (IS/ISIL) withdrew from several Assyrian villages in Tel Temir countryside in northeastern Syria, after battles with Kurdish and Assyrian forces.

The group has reportedly destroyed most of the churches in the area before withdrawal, military sources reported on Monday.

Speaking to ARA News, Fayez Korko, member of Haras al-Khabur force, said that a huge devastation hit the Assyrian areas in the vicinity of Tel Temir at the hands of IS terrorists, especially the worship places and civilians’ property.

“They dropped the church’s crosses and crashed them all. They also damaged all contents of the churches and painted anti-Christian slogans on the walls,” he added.

“We’ve expected to witness such a scene after the forced departure of the terrorist group from those villages,” Korko said.

The source pointed out that some of the Assyrian families were able to return to their homes in the town of Tel Temir, adding that other displaced families from the countryside are unable to return as their houses were exposed to complete destruction by the radical group.

“The IS brutality caused a mass destruction in agricultural and economic resources of the displaced Assyrian families,” Korko told ARA News.

“Many Assyrians fled to Lebanon and northern Iraq after IS terrorists destroyed their churches and houses,” he added.

The Assyrian member of the Haras al-Khabur, which was fighting alongside the Kurdish forces of the People Protection Units (YPG) against ISIL, pointed out that the entire Assyrian villages have been liberated, but there are some of them the joint forces did not enter yet.

In February 23, 2015, militant fighters of the Islamic State launched an offensive on the Assyrian-majority villages near Tel Temir in Hasakah province, taking over several villages and abducting more than 200 people. The YPG backed by allied Christian forces of the Haras al-Khabur and the Syriac Military Council retook these villages and forced IS to withdraw.

The joint forces have liberated the Assyrian areas with the support of the U.S.-led coalition’s warplanes.

 

Reporting by: Zozan Shekho

Source: ARA News

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