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Open letter from Syria Christians to US Christians: Do NOT allow Turkey to destroy us!

A boy, displaced from fighting in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa walks in desert as he carries bread near village of Karama, east of Raqqa, Syria July 1, 2017.
A boy, displaced from fighting in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa walks in desert as he carries bread near village of Karama, east of Raqqa, Syria July 1, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

Dear brothers and sisters in the US,

The US has been the one force that saved our people from ISIS. We are proud that we can say that we as Syriac-Assyrian Christians have fought side by side with the US. Our Syriac Military Council has been part of every battle against ISIS in North-East Syria. The reality is that we could not have won and protect our people without the US forces. Now Turkey wants to destroy all of us.

100,000 Syriac and other Christians will be killed or driven away if Turkey invades. Turkish jihadists hunted down the Christians and Yazidi’s of Afrin in Northwest Syria. They will do the same again but at a much wider scale. The very same Turkish jihadists are standing ready and are waiting for the US to leave so that they can kill us and destroy our communities and Churches. This disaster against our people will happen while the USArmy will be standing by in Iraq at a few hours driving distance. Basically, the US Army will be looking on at a very short distance while Turkish-backed jihadists commit exactly the same crimes as ISIS.

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Our Syriac Military Council is a founding member of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The Syrian Democratic Forces and the people of North and East Syria have been loyal friends, through the hardest of times. Despite their limited means, the men and women of the SDF, from all religious and ethnic backgrounds, have joined together to defend the world and the values of freedom at great cost to our own communities. Now, the Self Administration of North and East Syria continues to build in one-third of Syria a strong democratic system based on the values of freedom, equality, democracy and tolerance. These are the values we share with the US. We want to continue to defend these values together with the US. What happened in North-East Syria is a similar experience as the founding of the US. We came together around the same core fundamental freedoms and we defended them against all the odds.

If Turkey is allowed to destroy us, America will be standing by as the only glimmer of hope in the Middle East is crushed. All the gains of US effort will be lost and two thousand years of history of Christianity in North-East Syria will be erased forever. Continuing support to us means that the US will have a steadfast ally with the same values. Despite PresidentTrump’s claims, ISIS is far from dead. The terrorist organization has been hurt, it is true, thanks to the ongoing efforts by America, the SDF, and other allied western forces, but by no means have they been vanquished for good. If the US pulls out now and Turkey invades, ISIS will return.

We accept that the US cannot stay there as only force forever. All we ask for is to postpone the departure of US Forces until the security of the Syriac-Assyrian Christians and all other peoples has been secured. We thank President Trump and the US for all help given. By securing our security, this help will have a real long-term result. We ask you urgently as our brothers and sisters not to abandon us. We urge you to stand with us and ask President Trump to allow us just the time to find other reliable partners to secure our long-term security and avoid a Turkish jihadist invasion.

Finally we ask you to pray for us in these testing times. Together with you in spirit we will celebrate Christmas. The Christmas lights are already on in Qamishli in Northern Syria. We ask you to help us to save Christmas in North-East Syria.

On behalf of your brothers and sisters in North-East Syria,

Sanharib Barsoum, president of the Syriac Union Party

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