By Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Erbil – The US-backed Christian Syriac Military Council (MFS) on Wednesday warned of a possible Turkish attack on the eastern Euphrates in Syria and called on the United States to intervene.
The MFS fears the onslaught could affect thousands of Christians who live in Syria’s northeast.
The military council has defended Syriac Christians against the threat of the so-called Islamic State as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Syriacs are one of the world’s oldest Christian communities. Many of them fled to Europe due to Islamic State attacks.
Now, they fear Turkey could launch an incursion into the east of the Euphrates, which would again displace thousands of Christians who live in villages and towns on the Syrian-Turkish border.
The Turkish army recently started to remove a wall between Turkey and northern Syria and amassed forces near Tal Abyad.
“It clearly aims to invade Northern Syria,” the Syriac Military Council said in a statement.
A significant population of Christians live in the territory that Turkey has said would attack, now under the control of the Self-Administration in Northern and Eastern Syria.
The Military Council called on Christians in the US to rally and urge Washington to ensure the American forces in northeast Syria prevent Turkey and its armed groups from invading the region. “Will the US Army stand by idly while we are killed?”
The Syriac Military Council called on their “partners in the Global Coalition to ensure security and protection for religious and ethnic minorities living in northeast Syria,” reminding that the Islamic State “is still a threat.”
Aram Hanna, a member of the MFS General Command, said he hopes the US-led coalition protects the east of the Euphrates, where Islamic State sleeper cells still pose a threat.
On Wednesday, a car exploded at a checkpoint in the middle of the city of Hasakah, causing limited material damage and injuries among civilians, an attack linked to the Islamic State.
The Coalition should intervene and protect our regions “because we are their partners in the war against ISIS,” Hanna told Kurdistan 24. “You cannot forget our martyrs [in the fight against ISIS], and we need protection.”
Syriac military and political organizations fear that the effects of a new Turkish invasion could end up being similar to what Christians experienced under the Ottoman Empire.
Thousands of Syriacs fled to Syria after they suffered a genocide at the hands of the Ottomans in 1915, also known among Syriacs as Seyfo.
“Turkey is our historical enemy,” Hanna said. “They have always tried to kill us. That’s their policy, maybe.”