TEL JAZIRA / KHABUR, Syria – The remains of the church of Mor Younan (Jonah) in the Suraye village of Tel Jazira summarize the horrific extent of destruction, murder, and kidnappings by ISIS terrorists in the villages of the Syriac (Chaldean-Aramean-Assyrian) population in the Khabur Valley, and the destructive impact on its inhabitants and churches. ISIS left the village almost desolate.
The images are not of buildings damaged by years of civil war in Syria, but of the remains of a previously thriving church and village in what was ones a flourishing oasis with tens of Syriac villages. The Khabur Valley was targeted and overrun by ISIS terrorists in 2015.
The Mor Younan Church in Tel Jazira, also called “Asya” or “doctor” in the Syriac language, was built in 1990. It was a destination for all believers from all the villages of Khabur before the arrival of ISIS. The extremists terrorized the population and wrote takfiri chants on the walls of the church.
Jamila Kako, one of the displaced Suraye women from Tel Jazira was kidnapped by ISIS. She tells about the events that took place in the village and the church;
“I currently live in Tel Tamr after ISIS overran the villages of Khabur in 2015.”
“I was kidnapped for a whole year. ISIS terrorists were threatening to burn down the village. As we left the village through small ships, we saw one of the ISIS militants holding 3 explosive devices. He wanted to use the explosives to blow up the Mor Younan Church.”
“What hurts our hearts most is that this church was not just a house or a normal building, but a sacred place.”
“The fact is that only 3 families remain in Tel Jazira now. This doesn’t gives us much hope of ever returning and starting to rebuild our village, its houses and its church.”
After the liberation of the villages, attempts to make the Khabur River Valley an own canton for Syriacs (Chaldeans-Arameans-Assyrians) have so far been unsuccessful.
For Arabic see SyriacPress Arabic