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Assyrians Caught in Crossfire Between Turkey, PKK Fighting
By Joe Snell
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The sounds of Turkish bombs rattled the Assyrian community of Bersiveh in northern Iraq in the early hours of June 20. Although the village is accustomed to the booms and roars of airstrikes and nearby artillery fire, residents never know when or where to expect the attacks.

June's aggression is just the latest in a string of Turkish bombings that have exhausted Assyrian communities in the country for years, said Athra Kado, an Assyrian teacher in Alqosh, and they are slowly contributing to the erasure of the ancient population.

"This is not today's incident or event, this has been happening for decades," Kado told Al-Monitor.

Assyrians are an ethnic group indigenous to parts of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran. Northern Iraq was host to many dozens of Assyrian communities, but a string of wars, terrorist attacks by the Islamic State and subsequent pressure from remaining militia groups have either emptied or destroyed many of these villages. Before 2000, more than a million Assyrians considered Iraq home. Today, that number is around 150,000.

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