IRAQ: Syriacs–Assyrians from Bardarsh village illegally detained by Kurdish security forces released

NOHADRA, Iraq — Following the illegal arrest and beating of the head of Bardarash village in Nohadra (Duhok), Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) Zia Minas Ather, filmmaker James Al-Bazi, and a number of other Chaldeans–Syriacs–Assyrians by Kurdish Asayish (security forces), there has been widespread public outcry. Those detained have since been released.

Former Member of Iraqi Parliament Joseph Saliwa posted the video showing the encroachment on Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian land on his personal page, increasing the national visibility of the  issue.

Co-chair of the European Syriac Union Fehmi Vergili stated that they would pursue the case and denounce such attacks and encroachments on the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people. The organization said that they would bring the case to the European Union and follow it closely. “We will not accept any violations, especially by the Asayish, who have arrested a number of our people who are entitled to defend themselves and their rights,” said the organization

Several Iraqi human rights figures and institutions, including the President of the People’s Council Bloc of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament, joined the demand to end the abuses targeting the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people. 

Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian Member of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament Clara Odisho visited the village to learn more about the case.

The Committee for Defending Religious and Ethnic Groups in Iraq extended an invitation to Nohadra Governorate and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to intensify the work towards ending methods of intrusions, arrests, and abuses on Christian territory.

Those appeals culminated in the release of the head of the Bardarsh village, the film maker and other detainees.

The incident in Bardash village is far from the first case of illegal encroachment on land belonging to Chaldeans–Syriacs–Assyrians.