Turkish-led jihadist troops advancing on a Syrian Christian town could begin an ethnic cleansing campaign in the next few hours, attorney and religious freedom advocate Lauren Homer tells CBN News.
Homer, an attorney with Law and Liberty International, has been working with Christians and other religious minorities in Northeast Syria for years. These groups enjoyed religious freedom under a new democratic government there called the Self Administration of Northeast Syria (SANES).
She warns, "150,000 Christians in Northeast Syria face extinction or exile AT THIS VERY MOMENT due to savage attacks by Turkey's President Erdogan." She's asking American Christians to pray and to encourage their pastors to pray to hold special prayers on Sunday for their brothers and sisters in peril and contact those leaders who can make a difference.
Here's the full text of Homer's letter to CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell:
"At this very moment, 150,000 Christians in Northeast Syria face extinction or exile due to savage attacks by Turkey's President Erdogan. Christians have already fled from areas along the Turkey-Syria border, along with their Kurdish and Arab neighbors--400,000 total refugees.
Over 500 civilians are dead. Many suffered horrific war crimes at the hands of Turkey's jihadi army. Turkey is ignoring cease-fire promises it made to both the US and to Russia.
At this hour, the historic Assyrian Christian town of Tel Tamer is surrounded by Turkey's jihadi forces with heavy weapons. Turkey is heavily bombing nearby villages, terrifying residents, and may soon bomb Tel Tamer. Christians in Tel Tamer are appealing to their brothers and sisters outside Syria to stop the attacks before they all die.
Tel Tamer has HUGE significance for Syrian Christians--and for their jihadi attackers. It exists because Assyrian Christians were forced to flee the Turkish Genocide 100 years ago. They settled in the Khabour River valley, building Tel Tamer and nearby villages. ISIS attacked this area in 2015, besieging Tel Tamer. After it took over 300 Christian hostages, the US decided to help.
US airstrikes were the only reason the entire area was not overrun by ISIS in 2015. Christian men--and women--went on to play a significant role in the multi-religious Syrian Democratic Forces.
Now, history is repeating itself. The US President gave Erdogan a green light to invade. The same jihadis, wearing Turkish uniforms, are returning to capture Tel Tamer and eliminate the remaining Christians. This time they have Turkish airpower, overwhelming numbers, and advanced military equipment. Erdogan is calling this a religious war of conquest and called for violence against the infidels in Syria.
US airpower is not being used to stop them this time. And sanctions President Trump imposed immediately after the Turkish invasion are suspended--despite abundant evidence of violations of the promised cease fire.
The US House of Representatives passed HR 4695 imposing strict sanctions on Turkey by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin on October 29 (along with a bill acknowledging Turkey's 1918 Genocide against Christians).
But the legislation is stalled in the Senate. Reportedly Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not bring it to the floor.
We are calling all concerned people to fast and pray for Syria, for wisdom for the leaders of the US and all other countries opposed to Turkey's aggression, for an end to violence, for withdrawal of Turkish forces, and most of all for safety, comfort, and protection for Syrian Assyrian/Syriac Christians and their neighbors. Many are sleeping on streets due to the lack of shelter."
Tens of thousands are in temporary camps with no outside humanitarian assistance due to the Turkish attacks. It is very difficult to escape to Iraq. There are NO safe places inside NE Syria.