The cleansing by ISIS of Assyrian Christians from their 39 villages in Khabur River Valley in northern Syria is 90 percent complete, and the remaining inhabitants of those villages have fled through Tel Tamar into Qamishly. Currently there are a few thousand Assyrians living under the protection of Mar Aprim, the Archbishop of the Assyrian Church of the East in Hasakah Syria. The remaining are fighters in Tel Tamar.
As in the biblical story of Moses and the Hebrews crossing the Red Sea, when the water first parted and then closed behind them, ISIS experienced a similar “miracle” during their attacks on the Assyrian villages in the Khabur River Valley. However this time the source of the miracle was not God but a Turkish dam. The dam in Turkey mysteriously opened prior to ISIS attacking, allowing ISIS forces to solidify their flanks by using the resulting torrent to split Assyrian military forces between the two sides of the river. The raging river waters also trapped the remaining Christians civilians who had nowhere to flea but into the river or into the ISIS fortified positions in the west.
The opening of the dam gave ISIS time to clear the Assyrian Christian villages, which lie on the west side of the Khabur River. After those clearing operations were completed with multiple Assyrian Christian causalities and scores of women being carried off by ISIS for their harams, a second “miracle” happened when the dam “mysteriously” closed, shutting off the flow of water into the Khabur River and thus allowing ISIS forces to cross the river and begin clearing the eastern side.
Today Assyrian military forces remaining in the Khabur River valley are surrounded in their defensive positions within the town of Tel Tamar. It should be noted that the country where the miracle originated from has closed its boarders to the escaping Assyrian Christians. It should also be noted that Turkey is a NATO member.
In a recent debate-style discussion in Irbal, Iraq, conducted by an Assyrian blogger, she stated that the ISIS of today is no different than the Ottoman Turks and their Kurdish allies from 100 years ago. In her assessment the Kurds of 100 years ago conducted the same type of actions in support of the Ottoman Turks that ISIS is conducting against the Assyrians today. This April marks the 100-year anniversary of the Assyrian/Armenian/Greek genocide, which was orchestrated by the Ottoman Turks and executed by both the Turks and the Kurds. When 11 Kurdish participants, who denied her accusations, challenged the blogger. She replied with a simple question: “Is your grandmother Kurdish or is or was she Assyrian?” Eight out of 11 stated that their grandmother was Assyrian. The Kurds of 100 years ago took many captive Assyrian women during the genocide into their tribes–just as ISIS is doing today. In both instances, Turkey turned a blind eye to the eradication of the Assyrian people in the Middle East. For the record, Turkey denies these accusations now, just as they did 100 years ago.
Just 72 hours ago the Assyrian fighters in Tel Tamar transitioned from defending their homeland to moving groups of civilians from Tel Tamar along the only escape route, operationally named “Route Sacred Hearth” by the Assyrian commanders, into Qamishly. These groups took direct fire on the road, forcing the Assyrian troops in Tel Tamar to fight their way out of the town to protect the fleeing civilians and fight their way back into the town to evacuate the remaining Assyrian civilians. At the same time they were evacuating the women and children the elderly Assyrian women and men courageously volunteered to remain in Tel Tamar, to face certain death at the hands of ISIS troops, in order to speed the evacuation. Subsequently, however, Assyrian troops fought their way back into the town on multiple occasions and rescued the elderly men and women who had stayed behind. Those people are now safe and Assyrian troops still hold Tel Tamar. Three days ago the Assyrian squad leader in Tel Tamar reported that the only people remaining in the town are the dead, the dying, and his troops.
A month ago I gave a Talk at the Assyrian Universal Alliance annual event in San Jose, California in which I stated that Assyrian leaders have shot themselves in the face with their decision to split our forces. Not one Assyrian news outlet or media representative covered the Talk; and, if they later read a transcript or viewed the video recording made of the Talk they either could not or chose not to understand the message being delivered. I am not sure how that could have been the case since I asserted that our “leaders” have placed the Assyrian military in a potions where they “are tactically irrelevant, operationally incapable, and strategically a bump in the road.” I also said that Assyrian’s have less than one month to fix the problem they created. Unfortunately for the Assyrians in Syria and Iraq, the “leaders” who created the problem have continued in the weeks since my Talk to boast about the great decision they made to split Assyrian forces. As stated by one self-proclaimed leader, “We are men of action.”
Three questions remain unanswered for the Assyrian community.
1. Why did some Assyrian “leaders” decide to split our military forces and create a police force rather than taking part in the battle that was then being fought in Syria and in the Nineveh Plains?
Note: This trained force is currently sitting at home.
2. Why are the Assyrian people allowing their force to remain split and continuing to support the decisions of their leaders–who have, by splitting our force and leaving Assyrian villages to be overrun by ISIS, delivered the Assyrian nation into the hands of the enemy?
3. How many more Assyrians must die, how many more Assyrian villages must be captured by ISIS, and how many more Assyrians must flee their homes before the decision to split the force is reversed?
Assyrians have multiple enemies within the region. These enemies have not shown yet that they have the will and the desire to change over the past 100 years. As bad as these enemies actions are towards the Assyrians the worst action is when the Assyrian “leaders” act in support of those enemies, by degrading our force capabilities and recommending that the remaining Assyrians fight under other flags and banners and in support of those forces national and regional causes within the Assyrian homeland.
It is still not too late for Assyrian forces to beat back ISIS in the Nineveh Plains and sometime in the distant future to return to the Khabur River Valley: but time is fast running out. Assyrian forces must unite now under one command and control, in one army, under the Assyrian flag. Otherwise any Assyrian “leader” who split our forces under any circumstances and under any justification” needs to be held accountable for war crimes.
NEC-SE 9 MAR 15