A prelate from the Assyrian Church of the East said that while the so-called “Islamic State” has suffered military setbacks, the fate of Assyrian captives held by the Islamic extremists is still unknown.
In an email sent to ZENIT by Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, Archimandrate Emanuel Youkhana said that US airstrikes and counterattacks by Kurdish and Assyrian fighters has broken the terrorist group’s siege of three villages.
“In other words, ISIS was defeated and kicked out from the north side of Khabour river,” he wrote. The success of the counter-offensive allowed for relief supplies by Catholic charities in Germany, Switzerland and Lebanon to be transported by Kurdish authorities to the suffering Assyrian population.
Archimandrite Youkhana wrote the following reflection on the plight of the Assyrian people:
“Their grandfathers survived the genocide of 1915 perpetrated by the Ottomans in Anatolia. The survivors fled to Dohuk, in present-day Iraq, the region becoming its own country in 1932.
One year later exactly, in 1933—on August 6 and 7—a new massacre and the first genocide of Assyrian Christians in the new Iraq took place in Semele. Coincidentally, ISIS took control of Nineveh plain on August 6 and 7, 2014!
The fathers of the Assyrians under attack today who survived that massacre in 1933 fled to Syria, to start a new life in the Khabour region. Today, a century after the first genocide and 80 years after the second, the present generation is confronted with a potentially third massacre. Three massacres of the same people in one century—enough is enough!”