KHABUR, North and East Syria — Despite the continued violent Turkish bombing of Suraye villages in the Khabur Valley, Armenian Khoshaba Ibrahim and his wife Ailshwa Sha’bo remain loyal to their home in the village of Tel Juma’a, in the countryside of Tal Tamr.
“We have nowhere else to go,” they said. “We have witnessed three massacres; the Simele massacre in Iraq, 2015 massacres of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the current Turkish massacres.”
Born in 1934, a year after the Simele massacre, Ibrahim declared that the Armenian and Chaldeo-Syriac-Assyrian families had suffered greatly from the massacres in Iraq that sought their destruction, forcing them to take refuge in Syria to build a new life here in the villages of the Khabour valley.
“Islamic State reminded us of the Simele massacre where our sacred values and sanctuaries were violated, our churches were demolished, and our relatives were kidnapped and killed,” Khoshaba Ibrahim declared. The aim of ISIS was to expel them again, “The Turkish bombing continues, but we will stay here and we will die here,” he stated firmly. His wife, Ailshwa Sha’bo stated that residents of the village used to shelter inside the church during the Turkish bombing, and that fear had become part of their daily life. “Not a large number of villagers are left, but we will stay steadfast and adhere to our homeland,” she also stated firmly.
Efforts by Syriac-Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean political representatives to establish the Khabur as a separate canton for the Suraye people under the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria have so far been unsuccessful.