On Sunday 25 August in the presence of the clergy, Tur Abdin locals and guests from all over Europe and with the service led by Mor Timotheus Samuel Aktaş (bishop of the Tur Abdin region residing in the Mor Gabriel monastery) the church of Mor Yacoub and Mor Barsawmo was opened and consecrated in the village of Kafro of Tur Abdin. Kafro village is in the Tur Izlo region and is one of the Syriac villages in the region which was emptied during the 90s because of security reasons compelling the local population to emigrate to Europe.
On August 2014, following the capture of Mosul city by ISIS, Nineveh Plains and Shingal region faced similar threat and they had been controlled by ISIS following the retreat of Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces which lead to the massive exodus of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people from Nineveh Plains and the Yazidis from Shingal and later faced genocide, killings, and abductions.
After the fires of the last couple of weeks in Northeast Syria and Northern Iraq, recent fires have burned and destroyed (farm)land around the Christian villages in the Tur Abdin region of Turkey. July 27 saw the burning of olive orchards belonging to the Deyrulzafaran monastery (Mardin). Also read: the comments by Evgil Türker (SÜDEF) and Turkish MP Tuma Celik: Fires in Syriac Villages: 'Even if It is Not Sabotage, There is Gross Negligence Süryani Köylerindeki Yangınlar: Sabotaj Olmasa Bile İhmal Büyük
The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information on ISIS kidnapping networks or the people responsible for kidnapping Christian clerics Maher Mahfouz, Michael Kayyal, Gregorios Ibrahim, Bolous Yazigi, and Paolo Dall’Oglio.
On Thursday 11 July 2019 another cowardice bomb attack on a Syriac-Orthodox church was carried out in the city of Qamishli, Al-Hassaka province, northeast Syria. The bomb was planted in a van and parked in front of the St. Mary church. The bomb targeted civilians. It wounded several people and caused a lot of material damage.
On 7 July 2019 ESU festively opened its new Netherlands office in Hengelo. The European Syriac Union Nederland and Stichting Bahro Production will be the main occupants of the new office building.
Bethnahrin Patriotic Union, Yezidi Exile Council of Sinjar and ESU visit Dutch MP Joël Voordewind on Sinjar & the Nineveh Plain
On Tuesday 25 June 2019, the Bethnahrin Patriotic Union from Iraq, the Yezidi Exile Council of Sinjar and the European Syriac Union, together with Sallux, visited the House of Representatives in The Hague for a meeting with Dutch MP Joël Voordewind of the ChristenUnie.
ESU calls on our Syriac people in Europe to vote CU/SGP & Bündnis C on 23 May 2019.
The CU/SGP and Bündnis C are members of the European Christian Political Movement which is a European partnership of Christian political parties. Together with the other ECPM-members, Bündnis C and the CU/SGP have been committed to and supporting the Christians at risk in Iraq and Syria. In the public political arena through their political stance in debates and discussions. In the background through the joint lobby towards the European institutions and governments - inside and outside Europe.
Freedom of Speech in Turkey?
On 18 April 2019, ECPM and The European Post hosted a panel discussion in the European Parliament in Strasbourg over the freedom of press in Turkey. Rima Tuzun, foreign affairs representative for ESU was present and she offered a perspective from the minorities’ point of view.