Lebanon to allow entry of Assyrian Christians fleeing Syria unrest

An Assyrian boy holds a poster during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Syria and Iraq, at a church in Sabtiyesh area of east Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday.
An Assyrian boy holds a poster during a sit-in for abducted Christians in Syria and Iraq, at a church in Sabtiyesh area of east Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday.

The Lebanese Interior Ministry will permit Assyrian Christians fleeing northeastern Syria to enter Lebanon, according to media reports .

Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouk reportedly instructed General Security after the decision was taken Wednesday night to facilitate the arrival of Assyrians coming from Syria’s Hassaka province, the reports said

There are no reports of any arrivals as of yet, but if they manage to make the journey to Lebanese borders they would be permitted entry so long as they can present a valid ID.

This decision comes after ISIS abducted hundreds of Assyrian Christians, prompting international concern for the fate of the minority group.

Many of those abducted are said to be women, children and elderly. They were reportedly taken after ISIS raided several Assyrian villages under the control of Kurdish forces.

The kidnappings had also reportedly prompted thousands of Christians to flee their homes to avoid capture by the militant group.

Mashnouk is expected to meet with Assyrian religious officials Friday to provide them with a guarantee that Lebanese authorities will grant entry.

The journey from Hassaka  to Lebanon takes several days and officials are uncertain which border crossing incoming Assyrians may use.

Hassaka  is near the borders with Turkey and Iraq, and Jalil Dawood, an Iraqi born pastor of the Arabic Church of Dallas, Texas, said what is so troubling about recent attacks there is that the city has been a refuge for those fleeing persecution for more than 100 years.

Hassaka was home to Assyrians — and Chaldeans and Syriacs — who fled Simele, Iraq, after a 1935 wholesale massacre of Christians when British forces pulled out of the area leaving these minoritiy groups vulnerable to the brutalities of Iraqi forces, Dawood was quoted as saying by Christian examiner on Thursday.

Nineb Lamassu, an Assyrian reporter, reminded viewers of a BBC newscast this week about refugees who came to Hassaka , fleeing the 1915 massacres of Assyrians in Turkey because these Christians had made alliances with countries who were fighting fascism.

“They were betrayed by their British allies and … they were in Iraq and … they were again betrayed … and the first massacre in Iraq was committed against these Assyrian Christians and the survivors fled to Syria and these are the survivors,” he said.

He said a similar betrayal took place this week.

Lamassu said Assyrian leaders had been warning United Nations and European authorities that a mass persecution such as the one that took place Feb. 24 was imminent, “demanding a safe haven” for the community of families from those villages that were attacked, “crying” and “expressing our concerns to no avail.”

assyrian villages, SyriaWhen asked who should be protecting these people, Lamassu answered, “mostly they are the responsibility of the western international government, especially the allied forces.” Further, he said the Assyrian Christians are the responsibility of the British because the Assyrians at Khabur (a group of villages in Hasaka), are the Assyrians that fled — “the survivors of the genocide” of 1915.

“Inaction will not help,” he said. “It seems like the world listens to the powerful and the weak is suffering because someone is bullying and persecuting them.”

ISIS, he said, “wants the platform and the headlines and the news.”

There are at least 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon , including several thousand Assyrians .

The Lebanese authorities have been implementing stricter measures for Syrian refugees due to the fact that nearly one in 3 in Lebanon is now a refugee . Lebanon is also home to about half a million Palestinian refugees.



5 responses to “Lebanon to allow entry of Assyrian Christians fleeing Syria unrest”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar

    ” if they manage to make the journey to Lebanese borders ” …. what ARE the odds?

  2. Maborlz Ez-Hari Avatar
    Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Lebanon has always been a safe haven for the persecuted, it’s time the world’s leaders took an active role in supporting the Lebanese government and eliminated any dangers, risks from effecting the citizens and guests living in Lebanon. The infrastructure needs to be boosted including education, medicine, housing and other forms of support for the country to be able to continue to provide shelter for all.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Would be nice if they supplied some for the citizens ,,,,

  3. It’s about time… Poor people. It is a shame when the original owners of the land become foreigners and when the foreigners become owners of the land.

    1. Hind Abyad Avatar
      Hind Abyad

      Yes Lebanon should take Assyrians. Armenians genocide took place in parallel with the Assyrian genocide, half of their nation in Smyrna was destroyed by the Turks, today they help ISIS wipe out their descendants who found refuge in Syria.
      Strangely the creator of Zionism, Jabotinski, was chief editor for Ataturk,
      the author of the Armenian and Assyrian genocides.
      100 year later the plan continue it’s course, this time for good, in between, this past 100 years, Israel demanded for each and every war from the Allied “for it’s survival”, knowing about the danger to Christians, instead of making peace with Palestinians leaving others in peace.

      The absence of acknowledgement from the West about the dangers of their invasions to Christians, is for mind boggling, on the contrary, every country they “liberated”, Christians were massacred or became refugees. On top, Erdogan wanted a buffer zone in Syrian territory, he got it last week and planting the Turkish flag, with acquiescence from the Powers.
      As if Turkey was in any danger, when they’re the ones who opened the borders to Jihadis and ISIS into Syria.

      The British also betrayed the Palestinians, and the Hashemite, helping the Wahhabi conquer Arabia.

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