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'There Won't be Christians Left': Syrian Christians Fear Grim Future in Shadow of Turkey's Invasion

10-21-2019
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JERUSALEM, Israel - A spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) says they have completely evacuated fighters from a besieged Syrian border town per the US and Turkish cease-fire. 

“As part of the agreement to pause [military] operations with Turkey with American [mediation]. Today, we have evacuated the city of Ras Al-Ain from all SDF fighters. We don't have any more fighters in the city,” SDF spokesperson Kino Gabriel said on Sunday.  

The ceasefire ends Tuesday but if the SDF has not left their designated areas by then, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to “crush Kurdish heads.” 

As the nearly two-week-old Turkish invasion continues, evidence is mounting on social media and regional reports that Christians are a target.   

Along the Turkish-Syrian border reports are emerging of Christians living, dying and fleeing in the face of a Turkish onslaught aided by jihadist troops. They hope their pleas reach the Christians of America.  

In January of this year in Kobane, CBN News interviewed Pastor Zani and his wife Chinar after President Donald Trump said he would pull out US troops. At the time, they pleaded with the president.     

“Why did President Trump do this that he immediately wants to [withdraw] the forces from here? Is it possible that he was not considering the church or that he doesn’t know that there are believers here?” Zani said. 

Ten months later, CBN News received a message from Chinar via an encrypted app: “We are afraid of one thing, [if] Kobane enters the siege, and the gas, fuel, food and medical supplies and heating means will be cut off, it will become a real disaster. We do not know what will happen next.”

Miles from Kobane, in Sari Kani, Rohani TV interviewed Ziad Mussa, the only Christian left in town. 

Mussa said the Turkish state "is targeting the Christians" and that Tukey "aims at annihilating the people of the region and impose a demographic change."

Mussa also claimed that Turkey is "destroying the Christian churches and heritage and trying to annihilate the Christians from this region."

A Rudaw24 report documented the fears of the Christians in Qamishli. 

A Christian named Sawmi told the news organization that if Turkish-backed militias enter the city, Christians will not be spared. 

"You people of America: Christianity is in danger. If Christianity dies in the east, then Christianity will die as a whole because we the Syriac speak the language of Jesus. The Syriac language is the Aramaic language. If we are gone, there won’t be Christians left.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem said America is supposed to protect religious freedom. 

"Our religious freedoms are at our core as an American people and I’m ashamed as an American to see this taking place. It should not have happened. If it is happening in real-time, then the United States has to play a role in stopping it," he said. 

Rabbi Cooper learned more about the plight of Christians after the Turkish invasion, 

“CBN was kind enough to supply me with a very lengthy email, literally from the front lines. So disturbing and I was so disturbed by it that I actually sent it along to the Secretary of State and to the Vice President, two people in the administration, top people in the administration committed to the issue of protecting religious minorities," Cooper explained. 

Cooper like many other leaders hopes president trump will reverse course.   

“It’s a disaster. The president has been known to change course pretty quickly. I would join those who hope and pray he flexes more muscle both in terms of the sanctions which have an impact on Erdogan and if necessary using American airpower which is still massive in order to enforce a red line," he said. 

Before the Turkish invasion, it was estimated up to 100,000 Christians lived in northeast Syria. How many remain in the cradle of Christianity after Erdogan's invasion remains to be seen but many are looking to the President of the United States and the Church in America for help.    

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