Syriac villagers in Tur Abdin attacked by group of local Kurds, exposing ongoing tensions in southeastern Turkey

MIDYAT, Turkey — A disturbing incident took place on Friday in the historic region of Tur Abdin, located in southeastern Turkey, where a group of Kurds from the village of Qudbe assaulted Syriac residents of the nearby village of Sidari on Tur Izlo (Mount Izla).

The Kurds of Qudbe, known for their large herds of livestock, have a history of trespassing into Syriac villages located in Tur Izlo and causing extensive damage to property. Sidari village has been particularly targeted due to its residents’ refusal to sell their lands.

The recent attack specifically targeted the village mayor, Hanne Akbaba, and a local villager named Sha’u Taştekin. Both individuals, aged 70, sustained severe injuries from the assault, which involved four perpetrators striking them on their heads and various parts of their bodies.

Mayor Akbaba had returned to his village after a period of living abroad and was elected as its mayor. Similarly, Sha’u Taştekin, a member of the Sharro family, had also recently returned from living abroad.

Sidari village is currently home to six permanent families, but during the summer season, the population significantly increases.

Many villagers from communities around Tur Izlo have chosen to sell their livestock or land to Kurds and have moved to other parts of Turkey or abroad.

However, the Syriacs of Sidari have consistently refused such offers.

Tensions between the communities have increased as a result and the Kurds of Oudbe have resorted to intimidation tactics in an attempt to coerce the Syriacs of Sidari into relinquishing their lands and livestock.