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CHRISTIANS IN DANGER AS A RESULT OF TURKISH OFFENSIVE

Christians are expressing concern for fellow believers in the Kurdish area of Northern Syria as Turkish forces enter the region, with others saying Christians are glad Trump’s troops have left.  These past weeks, Turkish forces have attacked northern Syria, where many Kurdish people live, as well as Arabs, Syrians and Christians, with the president of Turkey saying it is to prevent a ‘terror corridor’ and create a ‘safe zone’.  American troops were supporting Kurds in northern Syria until President Trump withdrew them, something which is now being criticised for leaving Kurdish people and Christians in the region vulnerable to Turkish attack.

Evangelist Franklin Graham, a supporter of Donald Trump, wrote on social media that he was praying Trump would reconsider his move.  “The Kurds are the ones who have been leading the fight against ISIS in Syria, and the Kurds have been protecting the Christians.  They could be annihilated.  Thousands of lives hang in the balance” Graham said.  Republican Senator Lindsay Graham also criticised Mr Trump, saying: “Your decision regarding Syria is having grave consequences to our national security and that of our allies and partners.”  The Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mountstephen said: “the implications of recent events for freedom of religious belief could be very severe.

Freedom of Religion or Belief is sacrosanct, not trade-able.”  Rev Andrew Ashdown, a vicar who has travelled extensively in the region, said Christians in the region were not completely free before this happened either, saying: “In the last few years, the Kurdish authorities have attacked and closed Christian schools and churches and sought to impose the Kurdish language and education on those.  “So the Kurds are not white as white, pure as snow and while people talk about the Kurdish area of Syria, yes, there are 30% Kurds but it’s more complicated than that – it’s part of Syria.” Ashdown said.

Fadi, a representative of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said  “This decision came as a big shock everybody, including the international community and political leaders.  “It is a very premature decision and will lead to destabilising the already fragile situation in North East Syria and may lead to another refugee crisis and the regrouping of ISIS in the area.  “The Turkish invasion may even mark the end of the Christian presence in North East Syria.  There is a significant Christian minority here but this may be the end for their existence due to the Turkish invasion.  When the Turkish army invaded Afrin a few months ago hundreds of Kurdish Christians had to flee for safety.”

Source: Premier News Service