KHABUR: Commemorating the Assyrian Martyrs of ISIS savagery

Khabur, Syria – In February 2015 terrorist organization ISIS attacked the Assyrian villages in the Khabur Valley, North and East Syria. Thousands of residents were displaced. Nearly 250 Assyrians from dozens of families in the Khabur Valley were kidnapped. The jihadists’ savagery and inhumanity would not spare Suraye (Syriac) Assyrian children, women, and men.

On 23 September 2015, three of those kidnapped were confirmed executed, the fate of two others remains unknown. ISIS cruelty became visible that day five years ago. That day, 23 September 2015, ISIS executed Dr. Abdel-Maseeh Aniyah of the Khabur village Tal Jazirah, Ashur Piro Abraham of Tal Jazirah, and Bassam Issa Michael from Tal Shamiram. To show the world its savagery, ISIS filmed the executions and published them online.

ISIS dark inhumane ideology became evident in rape, sexual violence, and slavery against all women that did not adhere to their version of Islam. ISIS targeted Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians for being Christians and caused irreparable suffering to women and children. ISIS transgressed all human laws, in Syria and in Iraq. ISIS victim ‘Rita’ from Iraq is quoted by Syriac writer Susan Korah;

“I was kidnapped (by ISIS) on Aug. 6, 2014, and sold five or six times”. Her flat, unemotional tone belies the trauma and excruciating pain she suffered until she escaped on Nov. 15, 2017. “I was a servant and tool for sexual pleasure,” she says, adding that she still suffers from nightmares.

In the Khabur, Assyrian leaders pleaded with ISIS to kill their women and female children and not to rape them because rape is living a thousand deaths. ISIS raped them anyway and kept them in slavery. Some were released after family, churches, and aid organizations collected money and paid the ransom requested by ISIS.

Despite several pleas and lobbies to make case of the prosecution of ISIS members and atrocities against Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians, so far, only one trial of ISIS members complicit in the Khabur atrocities is known to us… with Alberto Miguel Fernandez we say, “Remember, O Lord, Thy servants…”

Efforts by the Syriac Union Party and the Syriac Military Council to make the Khabur Valley around the centre city Tel Tamr an own and separate canton and safe haven for Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians to return to, have, so far, not succeeded. With the invasion and occupation of northeastern Syria by Turkey and allied militant factions these efforts seem unattainable.