AINA News
Syria's Christians Disproportionately Affected By the War: Report
By Tuma Abraham

Stockholm (AINA) -- Five years after writing his report By God - Six Days in Amman, his personal report that changed the perception of the war in Iraq, Nuri Kino is back with a new one. This time it's the war in Syria and its consequences he wants to highlight.

Nuri Kino, award winning Swedish-Assyrian author and investigative journalist, has met and interviewed nearly one hundred Christian Syrian refugees. In his personal report he gives voice to this otherwise silent minority. He is told harrowing tales of systematic rape and kidnappings. Many, perhaps most of the refugees interviewed express a desire to leave the Middle East for good and have contacted human smugglers. A multi-million enterprise has sprung up around the refugee crisis. Kino has also spoken to several of these smugglers and investigated the trade. His first-hand report includes an interview with a young man who reached Sweden after a hellish journey from Syria. "Jacob" was forced into a sealed container and almost died of suffocation. Only a few days after leaving the container he and some seventy other men were forced onto a ship, where only half of them survived the journey. Nuri Kino says this about his report:

We meet every day by news reports from Syria that evokes strong emotions. But what do we really know about what is going on there? One element can get a sense of a TV channel and another in another TV channel. It is therefore important that the Syrians themselves, witnesses of atrocities, can be heard. I could write short articles but these are forgotten after just one day, that's why I decided to write a longer report. I waited for the right time and when a Syriac Orthodox youth organization would go to Beirut, it felt right to go with.

The war in Syria is growing increasingly worse every day, and it is affecting every Syrian citizen, regardless of ethnicity or religion. But the situation for minorites is even more horrifying. The Christian minority in Syria has no militia and is targeted by everyone. Christian Assyrians (also called Chaldeans and Syriacs) and others have become the number one target for criminals and terrorists. Between The Barbed Wire gives a voice to this people and is a must-read for anyone who is involved or interested in issues of migration and international politics.

The personal report compares the exodus of the Christians from Syria with that from Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The current similarities with the situation in Iraq are alarming. At the peak of the sectarian conflict in Iraq, Christian were killed, some beheaded in front of video cameras by extremists and driven from their homes and businesses, targeted by religious intolerance and the prospect of economic gain. Meanwhile more than half of the Iraqi Christians have been forced to leave the country.

This is now being repeated in Syria.

Even though Christians make up more than 10 percent of Syria's population, this amount is not reflected in the UNCHR registred refugees numbers who fled to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The mostly ignored tragedy of the Christians in Iraq has convinced Christians of Syria that international authorities will not step up to protect them. While their plight is well known to the western media outlets they still are forgotten by international aid organizations. They are fleeing massively.

Nuri Kino's comprehensive 40-page report is available here.


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