Two people injured in grenade attack near Armenian church in Syria
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Two people were injured in a grenade attack against civilians near an Armenian Church in Syria’s Hasakah on Monday evening, carried out by unknown assailants.
So far, no group has claimed the attack.
According to the Syria-based Rojava Information Center (RIC) that released a report on religious minorities in northeast Syria this month, Armenians have always been targeted in the region.
Two people were injured tonight in a grenade attack against civilians near the Armenian Church in Heseke, carried out by unknown assailants.— Rojava Information Center (@RojavaIC) September 28, 2020
See our report for more on the violence and danger faced by Armenians and other Christians in North and East Syria: https://t.co/eiQMfjLb0q
“In November of 2019, Armenian priest Hanna Ibrahim, and his father Ibrahim Hanna Bido were shot and killed by sleeper-cells on their way from Hasakah to Deir al-Zor in order to restore the Armenian memorial church in Deir al-Zor,” Robin Fleming, a researcher with the RIC, told Kurdistan 24.
“This is a clear example of extremists groups specifically targeting religious Armenian figures and sites.”
Moreover, she added that the recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan could also result in more sectarian tensions in Syria.
“That being said, the recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is likely to give added fuel to the fire when it comes to persecution of Armenians,” she said. “Especially when you consider the claims that Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups are being sent to Azerbaijan.”
On Sept. 24, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 300 Syrian fighters from Turkish-backed groups, including the Sultan Murad and Sultan Suleiman Shah brigade, were reportedly sent from the Kurdish region of Afrin to Azerbaijan.
According to a recent United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria report, the Turkish-backed groups are involved in multiple human rights abuses in Syria, including systematic looting, property appropriation, and widespread arbitrary deprivation of liberty.
The groups have also subjected women, girls, men, and boys to sexual and gender-based violence in Syrian areas occupied by Turkey.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) also has an Armenian armed group called the Martyr Nubar Ozanyan Brigade founded on April 24, 2019, during the 104th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
However, the SDF, unlike pro-regime groups and the Turkish-backed rebels, have refrained from sending fighters to conflicts outside of Syria, such as in Libya.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany