Today, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-08) introduced a resolution to commemorate the Simmele Massacre of 1933 when the Iraqi armed forces brutally massacred an estimated 3,000 unarmed Assyrian men, women, and children; they looted and destroyed over 60 Assyrian villages. The resolution also rejects any efforts to associate the U.S. Government with denial of the Simmele Massacre, and encourages the education of the public to increase understanding of the massacre.
"The Assyrian community has suffered immense hardship throughout history, including the horrific Simmele Massacre," said Congresswoman Lesko following the introduction of the resolution. "It is my hope that this resolution will bring attention to the atrocities that occurred in 1933 so that we can avoid the actions and policies which led to them in the past."
In 1916, Great Britain and France signed the Sykes-Picot Agreement detailing how the Ottoman Empire was to be split. The agreement led to the division of land into Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and others. However, the Assyrian people were not addressed in the agreement and were left as refugees in the newly formed Iraq.
Over the years, the Iraqi government became increasingly hostile toward the Assyrian people. In 1933, Iraq exiled the Assyrians' leader to Cyprus and the Iraq-Assyrian relationship deteriorated further. Over 600 Assyrians attempted to seek asylum in Syria but were turned away. The Iraqi government encouraged the spread of false rumors of Assyrians revolting, burning bridges, and poisoning water sources, which triggered the massacre by the Iraqi armed forces in August 1933. Simmele is a town where much of the massacre took place. The Assyrians were disarmed by the Iraqi government just before the massacre.
"On this historic day, the Assyrian nation expresses the highest gratitude to the Honorable Congresswoman Debbie Lesko for her historic gesture in introducing the Simmele Massacre resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives in memory of the unarmed Assyrian Martyrs who were sacrificed during the Simmele Massacre in 1933 in honor of the Assyrian nation and its struggle," said Sam Darmo, Chairman of the Assyrian American Republican Coalition of Arizona.
Lesko was joined by Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18), Josh Harder (D-CA-10), Scott Perry (R-PA-10), and Brad Sherman (D-CA-30) in the introduction of this resolution.