The Assyrian Church of the East – to which hundreds of Christians in the Khabur valley taken hostage by jihadists of the Islamic State (Is) belong – has chosen not to identify itself with any of the warring parties in the Syrian conflict and insists that Christians are "unrelated to the culture of weapons" and clearly states that no faction or paramilitary militia operating in Syria can present themselves as a military wing connected to the Assyrian Christian communities.
These are the contents of the letter that Assyrian Bishop Afram Athnil addressed to the leaders of Is to highlight the distances from all armed groups operating in the field – including self-defense militias formed by the Assyrians – and to demand the release of hundreds of Christian hostages still in the hands of jihadists. "In his letter – confirms to Agenzia Fides Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo – Bishop Afram has denied the existence of an alliance with Kurdish soldiers linked to the PKK, and hinted that the militias known by the acronym of 'Sotoro', also described in the international press as Assyrian Christian militias, have never had any mandate and approval by the Church".
Meanwhile from the Assyrian villages located on the east bank of the river Khabur – abandoned by the Christian population in February, after the offensive in the area carried out by the jihadists of Is – there is news of looting and robberies committed by Kurdish militias. "In those villages where the jihadists had never entered – reports to Fides Archbishop Hindo, Kurdish soldiers have opened all the houses of Christians and taken objects and valuables, starting from computers".
Source: Fides News