- Dec 14, 2019
Turkey’s Armenian community on Wednesday voted in Bishop Sahak Masalyan as its new patriarch, in an election that critics say was overshadowed by Turkish government intervention.
In mid-October, Turkey agreed to pause its fighting for 120 hours, expiring Oct. 22, for Syrian Kurdish and Syriac Christian forces to withdraw from a zone Turkey wants to control. However, with fighting still was occurring in several areas, and the uncertainty of what would happen, Syrian families were considering their options for survival.
When Hevrin Khalaf, a young Syrian politician and advocate on behalf of women and religious and ethnic minorities in Kurdistan, was murdered by a Turkish-backed fringe group on Saturday amid Turkey’s new offensive in Syria, her death sparked outcry from around the world.
The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church pleaded for “immediate and lasting peace in northeastern Syria and the preservation of innocent lives, especially for Christians, who are the original and founding component of Syria.”
Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for the international community to work for peace in Syria, noting that Christian families are in the areas currently under attack by Turkish forces.
Christians concerned with religious freedom violations resulting from the Turkish military offensive on northeastern Syria are urging U.S. President Donald Trump to “reconsider and reverse” his Oct. 6 decision to move American troops out of the way of a Turkish incursion.