Kurdish Military Arrests Syrian-Orthodox Priest and Laity

Priest Was Offered Chance to Be Released Alone, But Refused to Leave Others

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Since Monday, members of the Kurd armed forces connected with Pyd (Kurdish Democratic Union Party, Syrian section of Pkk) have been holding Syrian-Orthodox priest, Abba Gabriel Daoud, with other leading members of Syrian Christian associations in the area of Hassakè, reported Fides.

The Democratic Union Party, known as PYD, is a political party established in 2003 by Kurdish activists in northern Syria. It is an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Said to control a number of towns in Northern Syria, it is considered to be one of the most important Kurdish opposition parties in Syria.

Hassake is the capital city of the Al-Hasakah Governorate and is located in the far north-east corner of Syria.

According to local sources, at least 12 people were arrested and have been detained for moving into Kurd-controlled areas without permission.

Sources claim that the priest, who had just returned from a transfer to Damascus, was offer the possibility to be released alone, while the others remained detained. But he refused.

In January 2014, Syrian Kurds had taken a step towards the creation of an autonomous political entity in the northeast of the country. They announced the formation of an autonomous government comprising 20 ministers.

In that self-proclaimed government group, three Syrian Christians had been enrolled as ministers.

Syrian Catholic Archbishop Behnam Hindo, even before this, warned that autonomist drives of militant Kurd nature, could not be considered the expression of prevailing sentiments among the local population. 

“The only ones who want to create a Kurd led autonomous region in northern Syria ” the titular archbishop of the Hassakè-Nisibi Eparchy explained, “are militant Pkk, the party of Abdullah Ocalan.»

“However,” he stressed, “that project has not even the consensus of the rest of the Kurds, not to mention that of Muslim tribes or we Christians.”

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