Assyrian Christians: “We Had the Best Life, It was Lush and Green…”
Then ISIS Came–They Destroyed Everything… –Image: Citizen Go
(CNL) Assyrian Christians from Syria besieged Khabur region fleeing their homes when the Islamic State (ISIS) seized their villages in February are increasingly seeking refuge in Lebanon–Since the 17 March, the Assyrian Church in East Lebanon has registered 50 families from the region and more are on their way.
Michael and Hannah arrived in Lebanon earlier this month with their 10 yr old daughter Elizabeth, they requested that the Catholic News Service identify them by their pseudonyms to protect their identities because some of their relatives are part of the 300 or so Assyrian Christians kidnapped by ISIS in February, on Khabur’s cluster of 35 villages. So far ISIS released about 16-24 hostages but there has been no word on the remaining hostages which include women, children and the elderly.
“We have not heard anything,” said Michael, “We’re praying that God will protect them, what else can we do?”
Michael and his family were awakened at 3:00 AM by ISIS bombarding nearby villages. They waited awhile to determine if the Islamic Jihadists would approach their village of Tal Maghas and Tal Tarner, Radio Free Europe reports in the western countryside of Hasaka province, by 5:00 AM it was clear they had to leave.
“Everyone was terrified and panicking,” Michael said. The family only had enough time to grab official documents, not even a change of clothes before fleeing their home.
More than 3,000 people eventually fled the Khabur that ISIS overrun.
Michael reflected on their lives before ISIS invaded and their genocidal atrocities committed in their path.
“In our village we are a simple people,” Michael said. “Just imagine you live in your own house, you never owned a weapon, you never argue with anyone. We lived in harmony with everyone. Then Daesh came (referring to ISIS by it Arabic acronym) they rob, kill, destroy and burn just because we are Christians.”
“We had the best life, it was lush and green,” Michael said, where most of the residents had worked in agriculture–”They (ISIS) even destroyed trees, everything. Now our lands are like a desert.”
The Assyrian Church of the East in Beirut says more than 1,300 Assyrian families have fled to Lebanon and about 100 Assyrian families have arrived from Iraq after ISIS takeover of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain — Economically strapped Lebanon is now hosting more than 1.5 million refugees, mostly Syrians…
Read full article here from the Catholic Herald