NORTH AND EAST SYRIA: St George Church in Tel Kayfji, witness to the displacement of Suraye in Khabur

TEL KAYFJI, KHABUR, Syria – The suffering of the Suraye people in Khabur has not stopped with the killing and kidnapping by the Islamic State. They are suffering from the consequences of this terrorism, and the arrival of the Turkish occupation army and its Islamist mercenaries. They caused further fleeing and emigration of the Suraye people from their traditional villages leaving behind historical holy places.

Our news desk visited the village of Tel Kayfji to visit the closed Church of Mor Jirjis (St George) and talked to one of the few remaining villagers.

The village of Tel Kayfji, Surith: Lyulnayah, is a small village west of the town of Tel Tamr. On its northern border, the extremists militias backed by the Turkish army have position from which they repeatedly cause skirmishes and clashes, displacing civilians, forcing them to leave their holy places behind. The Church of Mor Jirjis, built in the 1930s, was once much visited by believers. It is now closed. There is no priest available, and no church services are held anymore after the push into emigration of Suraye. The few remaining villagers go for prayers and rituals to a church in a nearby city.

Reconstruction of St George Church remains uncertain under occupation of North and East Syria. Hopes to revive prayers remain in the hearts of its few inhabitants. Souad Simon, a resident of the village and one of the few remaining in the village, told our news desk the history of the church and the suffering that caused the migration of the villagers.

“My name is Souad from Tel Kayfji village. As a result of the difficult situation in the area, the residents of the village have emigrated. We perform our religious duties in the church in nearby Tel Tamr because our church is closed.”

“We have been held many events in this church. We celebrated St George’s patron day every year in November and festivities in April. They have all ceased. We hope that the villagers will return to celebrate our holidays again together.”

“This church was built a long time ago. More specifically, it dates back to the time of the arrival of the Suraye here in the Khabur region.”

For the article in Arabic see SyriacPress Arabic