Friday 7 August 2015

Kidnapped Christians in Syria: "It keeps repeating itself, since 1915"

Nuri Kino with Syriac bishops in Sweden
Full transcript of Nuri Kino's explanation about the situation in Syria, where 250 Christians have been kidnapped. News report, in Portuguese, here.

What information do you have about the kidnappings in Al-Quarayatayn?
Isis went in to the city and about 1500 people managed to flee. Most of them came to the churches of Homs. We spoke several times to the churches and the Syriac Orthodox Bishop managed to make a list of missing people. He and volunteers, clergymen and civil volunteers registered everyone that fled and asked them if they had any missing neighbours, friends or family members. Then they went through again and after several interviews with those who registered they completed a list of 250 missing people.

These 250 are all Christians?
They are all Syriac Orthodox or Syriac Catholic.

Could there also be people from other minorities who have also been kidnapped?
That we do not know, because we only spoke with the churches.

But was the city of  Al-Quarayatayn majority Christian?
Nearly only Christians.

There has been no information on the part of the kidnappers, no demands...
No. The only thing we know is that their cell phones have been switched off. So when relatives, family members and the churches try to reach them there is no answer.

This is not the first time there has been a mass abduction. The most recent one was near Hassakeh...
From the Khabour area there are still 222 people abudcted.

Do you know if they are alive?
Well those that have been released have told us about their whereabouts, that women and small girls and boys and men were separated from eachother, and the women were held in a small room and had to schedule their sleeping. That is all we really know now.

At the time there were people who had been released and said they had been ordered released by Shariah judges...
That information has not been reliable, some said that, others said they had been released because of health issues. Mostly elderly people.

The fact that they were not just executed, even though they were a burden for ISIS, may be a sign of hope, no?
Definately. But we also know from kidnappings from Mosul or the Nineveh, of at least one Assyrian woman, and an Assyrian kid who were given to ISIS members as gifts. So it’s devastating, and people keep fleeing... Those who managed to flee from Khabour went to Hassekeh, and then from Hassekeh to Qamishli, from Qamishli back to Khabour, where there were a lot of mines. Now they don't know where to flee. It keeps repeating itself, it’s been repeating itself since 1915, then 1933 and so on, and now, since 2004 we keep reportiong and reminding the world about this genocide, but no action is taken to save the Christian/Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriacs/Armenians and other Christians in Syria and Iraq.

I don't know, I have no words besides that one lion was killed and the whole world was furious, now all these people are getting kidnapped and slaughtered, why isn't the world furious about that? Why? Somebody needs to give an answer.

And its not just Christians, it’s also Muslims. ISIS is getting more and more violent, against everyone.

One year ago Mosul fell and the world woke up to ISIS. Did you imagine that one year later we would be in the same situation?
Yes. We also actually predicted Mosul, and the Nineveh plains. For years, in both DC and Brussels, we reported about it, we feared it. So it’s very sad and horrible, terrifying, but it’s not surprising.

You live in Sweden, where there is a big Assyrian community. Are there relatives of those who were kidnapped?
I will actually see one of the relatives of those from Habour, she has 42 of her family members kidnapped, and I spoke to a young man and a lady today who have relatives missing from the Homs area, but they are not sure if they are kidnapped or not, because they are not on the list that they saw.

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