NORTH AND EAST SYRIA: Austrian delegation visits Syriac Union Party

ZALIN (QAMISHLI), Syria – An Austrian delegation with Members of Parliament of the ruling coalition in Austria is visiting the regions of North and East Syria. The Austrian delegation consists of Reinhold Lopatka, MP for the ruling Austrian People’s Party of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Ewa Dziedzic, MP for the coalition Green Party, along with Thomas Schmidinger, professor of political science at the University of Vienna. Thomas Schmidinger is also an advocate for Kurdish rights and is active in several advocacy organizations.

The delegation, on Saturday, met with officials of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA), and discussed the Turkish attacks on the region and the establishment of an international tribunal for ISIS fighters.

The Austrian delegation also met with a number of active political parties in the region, including on Saturday with the Syriac Union Party (SUP) in Syria – the SUP is a co-founder of the DAA. The delegation was received by member of the SUP executive committee Nazira Goreya and Ishoc Gawriye, SUP member and representative of the Bethnahrin National Council (MUB, Mawtbo Umthoyo d-Beth Nahrin).

The delegation was informed about the reality on the ground, the situation of Syriacs and other Christian peoples in northeastern Syria in particular, and the Middle East in general; the challenges and dangers that extremist ideologies pose for the Syriac people, and the attacks by ISIS against the Khabur villages around Tel Tamr and other areas of Syriac presence.

The SUP representatives also elaborated on its past and present efforts to defend its Mesopotamian homeland and people, its political standpoints for Syria, and conveyed its demands and proposals for finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The Syriac Union Party representatives called on the visiting delegation to communicate the voice and needs of the Syriac people to the Austrian government and European and international forums.