As the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group has spread across the Middle East, it has targeted religious minorities, particularly the Christian communities it comes across. Arutz Sheva provides this tragic story of Assyrian Christians who the terrorists have recently attacked and displaced:
Waiting in an aid line outside Lebanon’s capital Beirut, Assyrian Christian Francie Yaacoub remembers the well-stocked home she left behind in Syria as she fled advancing Islamic State (ISIS) group jihadists.
“We left behind a house full of everything. Why do we now have to stand at the church door?” she asked quietly as she waited to receive aid at the Assyrian diocese of Sid al-Boushriyeh, reports AFP.
She is one of hundreds of Assyrian Christians who have arrived in Lebanon in recent weeks after ISIS jihadists stormed their villages in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakeh.
Members of Lebanon’s Assyrian community, many of them related to those who fled Hasakeh, are doing their best to welcome the new refugees, but the displacement has left them traumatized.
Yaacoub, in her fifties, now lives in a small house with her son, husband and five other Assyrian refugees. Her family fled their village, Tal Nasri, during a terrifying ISIS bombardment last week.
“We left in our pajamas. My son walked barefoot, we left without our shoes on,” she said. “The shells were falling all around us…We had to flee because the safety of your children is the most important thing.”
Yaacoub’s family was not alone – thousands of Assyrians have been forced to abandon their villages along Hasakeh’s Khabur river since ISIS jihadists began an attack there in February.
The group has seized at least 11 of the 33 Assyrian villages in the region, and kidnapped more than 200 members of the ancient Christian sect, which numbered around 30,000 in Syria before the war …
“The villages of Khabur are empty now, there is no one left except some fighters,” lamented Chorbishop Yatron Koliana, as he oversaw the distribution at his diocese.
“Our people have experienced a great tragedy in Syria,” he added with a sigh, saying that many of the new arrivals were traumatized. “They are depressed. Some of them have chronic illnesses. Their lives are difficult.”
“How can we be comfortable, living on aid?” asked 50-year-old Simaan, who fled his village Tal Hormuz.
He railed against what he called international indifference to the plight of Assyrians under attack by ISIS in Syria and neighboring Iraq.
“The whole world, from the UN to the United States and Russia, is responsible,” he said angrily. “They (ISIS) have destroyed our whole civilization…and the world is watching.”