QABRE HEWORE, Syria – In an exclusive interview with SuroyoTV, “Uncle” Shamoun, a 95-year-old man from Routan village outside the town of Qabre Hewore (Al-Qahtaniyah) in North and East Syria, recalled stories narrated to him by his ancestors who were eyewitnesses to the Sayfo Genocide of 1915.
The Sayfo Genocide of 1915 was committed by the Ottomans against the Syriac people and occurred parallel to the genocides of Armenians and Pontic Greeks. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians, more than 300,000 Pontic Greeks, and upwards of 300,000 of the regions estimated 700,000 Syriacs (Assyrians-Chaldeans-Arameans) were massacred. More than 200,000 were forcefully displaced or deported south.
Uncle Shamoun narrated the painful events, his voice full of sadness. Despite his age, Uncle Shamoun has not forgotten those horrible events and massacres committed by the Ottomans.
“Some of our people were killed in the nearby villages, such as Nasran village, which is 2 km south of the Syriac villages of Routan, Mharkan, Karshamo and Khwetlah,” he added.
A SuroyoTV team accompanied Uncle Shamoun to Nasran village. “In the village of Nasran, which is located at the junction of the village of Dokar and Sarna, and on the banks of this river that passes through the Syriac villages, including Routan, the slaughterers butchered our people and threw them into the nearby lake, called Dira Qira, located to the west of Nasran,” said Uncle Shamoun.
Heading to the village of Helwa, where the residents of the village assured that there were 20 Syriac homes, the Ottomans killed and massacred innocent men, women, and children, without mercy.
“Our families used to tell us that the residents of Nasran are Syriac Christians and the Ottoman Empire killed many, captured the women and usurped them in the agricultural lands. Some of the women hid in the plants grown on the banks of the river, escaping the Ottoman oppression,” Uncle Shamoun added.
“Now, we want to pray for the lives of our innocent martyrs who were slaughtered in the Sayfo Genocide. Our innocent defenseless Christian ancestors were tormented to death. May God give them the Kingdom of Heaven,” Uncle Shamoun concluded.