Syriac representative within Rish Ayno Displaced Persons Committee call for a secure a safe and voluntary return of all Rish Ayno ethnic groups

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — On the 3rd anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn, Serê Kaniyê) and Tel Abyad, the Rish Ayno Displaced Persons Committee held a press conference in the camp for people displaced from the town.

During the conference, the Committee launched the “Safe Return is a Legitimate Right” campaign.

Suroyo TV conducted an interview with the representative of the Syriac component (ethnic group) in the Committee, Subhi Malke.

“The statement, which was read in three languages  — ​​Syriac, Arabic and Kurdish — talked about the displacement of peoples of Rish Ayno due to the Turkish attacks,” Malke stated. 

There were 150 Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people living safely and peacefully with the other peoples of Rish Ayno before the invasion, he added.

“After Turkey invaded and took control, only some Syriac individuals and the elderly were left because they could not leave the city,” said Malke. “The Syriac people have been annihilated from the historical city of Rish Ayno, which they had greatly contributed to its establishment.”

Malke spoke about the status of Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn) in the hearts of the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people, who lived there for hundreds of years.

He called on the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people and actors in the Syrian dossier to help liberate it from occupation and secure a safe and voluntary return of all its ethnic inhabitants.

The Rish Ayno area is one of the oldest inhabited areas in Upper Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia), with settlements dating back to the Neolithic Age.

Located near the ancient Aramean city of Sikkan, which was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times throughout history, Rish Ayno was first mentioned as the Akkadian town of Rēš ina during the reign of the Assyrian King Adad-nirari II from 911–891 BC.

During the 1915 Sayfo Genocide, Rish Ayno, then on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire, witnessed great suffering. Tens of thousands of Armenians and Syriacs (Arameans–Assyrians–Chaldeans) were forced on death marches through the town and into the desert. An estimated 80,000 people, mostly women and children, died in camps in the desert.

Today, its three remaining churches — the Syriac Orthodox Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle, the Syriac Catholic Church of Mary Magdalene, and the Armenian Orthodox Church of Saint Hagop, remain empty, the worshippers who once prayed in their pews having fled the city.