JERUSALEM, Israel –Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday. Some eye-witnesses tell CBN News that Turkey’s 34-day invasion in northeast Syria is at a turning point that could lead to the fall of a major US ally, the triumph of jihadist forces, and the resurgence of ISIS in the region.
CBN News has learned that the northern Syrian city of Tel Tamar faces defeat with Turkish-backed forces closing in. Analysts and internal sources warn that such a defeat could jeopardize the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US ally that fought against ISIS.
That could lead to the escape of countless ISIS prisoners in Syria and a resurgence of the Islamic State.
On Monday ISIS claimed responsibility for murdering two Armenian Christian priests and wounding a deacon while they were traveling from the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli to Deir ez-Zor.
When the invasion began, Turkey promised the US it would protect civilians, religious minorities – including Christians, and ensure that a humanitarian crisis does not take place.
Now, 33 days later, eyewitnesses including humanitarian groups testify Turkey has broken each vow.
WORLD Magazine’s Mindy Belz is in the region and tells CBN News Christians have been a specific target.
"I think this is really important. One of the Syrian refugees that I spoke to, and this was a Muslim, went out of his way to explain to me that what he saw was particularly targeting of Christians. So, in one sense it's not surprising but this is the first time it is happening under the sanction of a NATO ally and it seems like a complete betrayal of our alliances here in this region and it seems even a betrayal of our Christian brothers and sisters."
The future of a fragile government in northern Syria called the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (DAA) also hangs in the balance. This government promotes coexistence and protects the religious freedom of Kurds, Arabs, and Christians in northeast Syria.
The DAA is calling on US citizens to hold Turkey accountable while Erdogan meets with Trump on Wednesday.
“We call for the USA to stand with the DAA and for religious freedom – if Americans care about holding violators to account,” a statement from the DAA reads. “We have fought alongside your American forces to keep the terrorists out and now you have let them back in by supporting Turkey.”
The government says the US can stop Turkish airstrikes on Christian communities.
“We ask the USA why are they allowing religious and ethnic minorities that are peaceful citizens, to be bombed by Turkey when the USA. controls the airspace? We call for the USA to declare a ‘no fly-zone’ over the DAA,” the government wrote.
CBN News has also learned Turkish forces are massing near the city of Kobane.
Dalton Thomas of Frontier Alliance International met with a Christian leader in Kobane who gave him this plea: "Someone must make a decision. We are in dangerous, our lives is at risk. The reason is because we believe in Jesus. The Christians around the world and especially American Christians should push their governments to make a decision to protect us. Otherwise we are in serious danger."
Given Turkey basically engineered the crisis and violated international commitments, the question remains: Will the White House hold President Erdogan accountable?