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Turkish Offensive in Northern Syria Forced Assyrians to Evacuate Villages
By Hiwa Shilani
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An Assyrian Church in Tal Cedaya village, Syria, appears to be demolished, Nov. 9, 2019. ( Kurdistan 24)
The Turkish military offensive on northeastern Syria has led to the evacuation of minority groups, especially many from the Assyrian villages along the Khabour river.

Tall Cedaya is one of those affected villages, located five kilometers south of Tall Tamr in northern Syria. Over 20 households had lived in the town, but only one family remains.

Jamel and his five family members are the only households left in the village. "I want to let the international community know that Turkish operations are ongoing, and they have done nothing to stop it," he told Kurdistan 24.

"The United States has betrayed us," he added. "President [Donald] Trump is saying one thing in the evening and another the following morning."

The Tall Tamar village and the surrounding Assyrian villages have been evacuated before due to an attack by the so-called Islamic State and its takeover of the vast regions in Syria. The inhabitants are now re-evacuated after the start of the Turkish offensive.

Wardya, a 55-year-old Assyrian woman from the village, said Turkish forces had cut the clean water supply.

"What have we done to deserve this? Why cut off our freshwater supply? This is our great grandfathers' lands, and we will not leave no matter what they do to us," she said.

Before the Islamic State attacked, over 25,000 individuals lived in the settlements around the Khabour stream in northeastern Syria, with the majority being Assyrian Christians. However, after the Islamic State took over, only 1,200 remained.

Out of 33 Christian villages around the Khabour stream, only 18 villages remain populated with a few families.

The Khabour is one of the largest rivers of the three shared Euphrates tributaries regarding length and mean annual discharge; it is a sub-basin. It is shared between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany. Additional reporting by Hero Mawlodi.

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