Assyrian Bishop Writes Letter to Islamic State Demanding Release of Christian Hostages

Denies Any Association With Warring Groups in Syrian Conflict

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The Assyrian Church of the East has reaffirmed that it is not associated with any of the warring parties in the Syrian conflict.

According to Fides, Assyrian Bishop Afram Athnil wrote to leaders of the Islamist State insisting that Christians are «unrelated to the culture of weapons,» and demanding the release of the hundreds of Christian hostages in jihadists’ hands.

In the Khabur Valley, hundreds of Assyrian Christians have been taken hostage by terrorists.

In the letter, the Assyrian Bishop underscored, no faction or militia operating in Syria can present themselves as a military wing connected to the Assyrian Christian communities. 

Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo reaffirmed that Assyrian Bishop Afram «denied the existence of an alliance with Kurdish soldiers linked to the PKK.»

The PKK is the acronym for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, and is listed as a terrorist organization internationally by various states and organizations, including the United States and the European Union.

Bishop Hindo also stated that the militias known by the acronym of ‘Sotoro’, also described in the international press as Assyrian Christian militias, «never had any mandate and approval by the Church.»

At the same time, from the Assyrian villages located on the east bank of the Khabur river, there is news of looting and robberies committed by Kurdish militias.

«In those villages where the jihadists had never entered,» the bishop said, «Kurdish soldiers have opened all the houses of Christians and taken objects and valuables, starting from computers.» 

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