BAGHDEDE, Iraq — The Bethnahrin National Council (Mawtbo Umthoyo d’Bethnahrin, MUB) expressed its profound condolences to the victims of the devastating wedding fire in the Nineveh Plains town of Baghdede (Qaraqosh / Hamdaniya), Iraq, which resulted in over 100 deaths.
The MUB began by acknowledging the tragic events that unfolded on 26 September 2023. The wedding hall, hosting hundreds of people from the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian community, became the site of a major catastrophe due to the outbreak of a fire.
The Council lamented the failure to implement necessary preventive measures, leading to the tragic loss of lives among children, women, men, youth, and the elderly within our community. The incident has cast a profound shadow across the hearts of the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people, transforming the day into one of national mourning, it said.
The statement raised questions over the impartiality of the investigation of the Iraqi government and called for an international investigation into the incident. The Council concluded its statement with a call for the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people to unite and secure their autonomy in Nineveh Plains.
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To International Public Opinion and to Our People:
Our Syriac–Assyrian–Chaldean–Aramean people all over the world have entered into great mourning as a result of the fire massacre that broke out in at the Al-Haytham wedding hall Baghdede District of Mosul Governorate on 26 September 2023, where about a thousand people were present during a wedding. Dozens of children, women, men, young people, and the elderly lost their lives, and dozens more were injured.
The tragedy that befell our people on a day of joy, who did not leave their sacred lands because of their love for Nineveh Plain and hope for freedom despite repeated brutal attacks, was not an ordinary incident. The objective study reports of the investigation committee appointed by the Iraqi government increased doubts that this fire was deliberately set. The heinous policies against our people in Nineveh Plains and the plans to seize their lands have become the basis for all massacres and demographic changes.
After the end of the rule of Saddam’s Baathist regime in Iraq after the international intervention led by the United States in 2003, our people raised their demands for self-rule and assumed the appropriate political and national status for them. The struggle of our people to achieve autonomy in Nineveh Plains has disrupted the regional plans of some forces in Iraq and the Middle East which seek the ethnic cleansing of our lands, the most obvious example of which began by the terrorist Islamic State on 6 August 2010.
After the defeat of the Islamic State, our people returned to their sacred lands and expressed their will to protect their history and values.
In the face of a critical juncture where the stance on our people’s quest for freedom remains unresolved, certain forces have resorted to appalling tactics. These forces, employing both political and military pressures, have sought to forcibly displace families, crushing the hopes of our people for self-governance. Iran’s motives in altering the ethnic, religious, and demographic composition of Nineveh Plains, strategically positioned along its envisioned corridor from its borders to Lebanon, are disconcerting.
The escalating activities of certain Popular Mobilization Forces factions in Nineveh Plains, backed by local collaborators, underscore a clear political agenda. Recent events, notably the tragic Al-Haytham Hall fire, have morphed into a sinister conspiracy against our people.
In light of this perilous trajectory, we urgently implore the Iraqi government to appoint an impartial committee. This committee should meticulously investigate all facets of the plots against the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people of Nineveh Plains, unraveling the motivations behind the recent massacre. We further call upon the international community and advocates of human justice to intervene. It is crucial that preventative measures be taken against genocidal policies and support extended to our people in securing a rightful status within a truly federal Iraq. The imperative is clear: the establishment of an impartial committee and international intervention are essential to address these pressing concerns.
We, the Bethnahrin National Council, recognize all our people who lost their lives as national martyrs. In devotion to these martyrs, we call on all our people to struggle for national unity and obtain a special, independent status to govern themselves in Nineveh Plains.
Bethnahrin National Council
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