So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Syria: Kurdish attempts to expropriate Christian properties.

Local authorities are attempting to confiscate and administer goods and properties belonging to thousands of Christian families forced to emigrate due to anti-Christian violence.

A report from Agenzia Fides/Syria.
2015-10-23 Christians in Hassakè denounce attempts to expropriate properties of emigrants [source]
Hassakè (Al Hasakah) [click HERE for map/location]
Leaders of Christian Churches and institutions in the north-eastern province of Hassakè firmly condemn a “safeguard and administration” programme supported by the dominant local political and administrative bodies of Kurd origin, regarding properties belonging to citizens who have emigrated. A statement signed by the bishops and leading members of local Christian communities—including Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hondo, who leads the Syrian Catholic Archdiocese of Hassakè-Nisibi—and by movements and bodies active in civil society—corporations of rural farmworkers and the National Youth Organisation for national reconciliation—says the self-assigned right of the local authorities to confiscate and administer goods and properties belonging to persons forced to leave their homes and emigrate because of the war in Syria, is “violation of human rights”.
For the statement signees these measures threaten especially the presence of Christians in the region who own more than 30% of the lands and houses. The decision to set up bodies charged with control and management of properties belonging to persons who have temporarily left the area is seen by the leaders of the Christian communities, as intimidation against persons forced to leave their homes—and who, after having suffered the expropriation of goods would also see undermined their right to return—and those who remain led to think it is better to sell property before they find themselves expropriated in the case of temporary absence.
This decision—the statement reads—simply stirs the embers of confessional conflict. In the same statement sent to Fides, the Christian leaders of the region oppose arbitrary raising of taxes and attempts by local authorities to interfere regarding activity and programmes of private schools, starting with those connected to diverse Christian communities.
The answer to the statement issued by Christian leaders in the region of Hassakè came from representatives of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurd political group connected with the PKK, who countered that the programme “safeguard and administration” plan for properties belonging to persons who have fled, aims precisely to avoid illegal appropriation on the part of private citizens. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 23/10/2015).
What guarantees do Christian property owners have that the Kurdish PYD/PKK administrators will return their properties when Christians return?

Other links [political; humanitarian; persecution; history]:
Additional background (French source):
[30 Juin 2015] In the Syrian city of Hassakah, the largest town in the province north-eastern Jezirah, fighting is street by street after that the militiamen jihadists of the alleged Islamic State had succeeded, on 25 June, to enter in a number of neighborhoods, causing the exodus of at least 120,000 persons. Among the first to flee are nearly 4,000 Christian families belonging to different Churches - Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriac Catholics and Orthodox - who have, in large part, found refuge in the neighboring urban zone of Qamishli.

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