Assyrians support a humanitarian zone in North East Syria

THE HAGUE – During a visit to the House of Parliament, the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) has announced Thursday, April 18 to support a humanitarian zone where help can be provided to victims of the civil war in North East Syria. An area that the struggling groups will not be allowed to enter and provides an opportunity to bring humanitarian aid. Among the victims Minorities as the Assyrian Christians living for years in harmony with other groups in this area, but now they are threatened between the struggling groups to be uprooted from their territory. In the growing problems humanitarian aid reaches the Christian minority barely. The ADO strongly supports a number of policy recommendations in the report “Syrian refugees between two fires” with the subtitle “Christians additional target in conflict” of the Christian Union party in the Dutch Parliament.

Mr. Joël Voordewind, Member of Parliament for the Christian Union visited in late March along with Mr. Albert Koop from Jubilee Campaign refugees in Syria and Turkey. Today he handed his report on his trip to Foreign Minister Mr. Frans Timmermans of the Labour Party. After this presentation there was a roundtable with various representatives of the Syrian community and organizations working in Syria or offer help. The representative of the Syriac Orthodox Church Bishop Polycarpus was also present at this meeting.

The Assyrian Democratic Organization asked Mr. Timmermans 1) to send through international NGO’s to so-called liberated areas in Syria itself more help. In Syria there are several refugee camps of UNHCR, but only in area’s controlled by the current regime. In the area’s under the control of the Free Syrian Army, are no camps. Refugees in these area’s living in terrible circumstances. To help these refugees more international support is necessary than only the aid provided by the UNHCR but also through international and local NGO’s which at the moment only do work in area’s controlled by the Free Syrian Army. 2) Provide protection to minorities such as the Assyrian Christians in North East Syria because there is fear among Syrian Christians for a repetition of the terrible situation occurred in Iraq. After the invasion of the Americans in 2003, an exodus of Christians took place there that has led to the remain of only half of the original Christian community in this area. Among the Christian community there are people who even fear a new genocide. 3) In the first place should Christians in surrounding countries be provided to temporary settlements which will help to protect and support them with the intention to return to their homes in Syria when the situation there improves to safety. Upon arrival in Europe to deal with asylum applications of Syrian Christians who have been targets and victims by among others Jihadists and other extremist groups. The Syrian Christians do not possess their own militias to protect themselves in Syria. 4) If there are new elections in Syria the human rights of minorities as the Assyrian Christians must be guaranteed in the new constitution as well as in practice before a possible new government is installed. 5) Christian refugees should be separately settled and by this means protected against threatening by radical Muslims in other refugee camps.

The civil war in Syria has led to a massive exodus of refugees. More than 2 million Syrian civilians have been displaced as well, according to UN figures 1.3 million civilians have fled to countries in the region. The number of refugees is increasing daily.

The Foundation Help Christians in Syria, was also present, which is in the Netherlands the representative of the Syrian Christian Relief Organization (SCRO) and calls for more humanitarian aid. The SCRO is a local NGO in eastern Syria and offers from a Christian conviction relief to those in need as a result of the civil war. The aim of the Foundation Help Christians in Syria is to provide First Medical Aid courses, to distribute food parcels and to set up education for children in cooperation with the SCRO.

The Assyrian Democratic Organization requests other political parties to commit themselves to the suffering of the Syrian Christians in Syria and the surrounding countries.

Many thanks to Mr. Joël Voordewind and Mr. Albert Koop for their contribution on the issue in Syria!