المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

The Syrian Christians in Deir Ezzor are among migration, displacement and embrace.

The Syrian Christians in Deir Ezzor are among migration, displacement and embrace. 

 

The province of Deir Ezzor, as all the Syrian provinces, includes various spectrums of religious, sectarian and social components. However, the Christians in Syria exist in several Syrian cities, where they have experienced different circumstances.

 

The activists of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights could document the real life of Christian citizens in 3 major cities in the province of Deir Ezzor.

 

The presence of Christians in Deir Ezzor is distributed among three major cities in the province; the border city of al- Bokamal, the city of al- Mayadin in the east of Deir Ezzor and the city of Deir Ezzor.

 

  • The city of al- Bokamal

 

The Christian citizens of al- Bokamal city are considered from those who established the city, where there are 3 rich Christian families owning real estates. In addition to there was a church protected by the rebel and Islamic battalions when they seized the city in the second half of 2012, where the government troops were bombarded it in early September 2012. The bombardment resulted in demolishing a part of the church. At the same month, and as a result of the continuous and violent clashes carried out by the regime troops on the city most of people in the city of al- Bokamal, including Christians, displaced the city. The last months of 2012 witnessed violent clashes between the regime forces against the rebel and Islamic battalions leading to the withdrawal of the regime forces from the city and return of the vast majority of people of al- Bokamal to the city except Christians, where some of them have left Syria while other moved to other provinces.

 

When al- Nusra Front took control over city of al- Bokamal in late December in 2013 the judge of the Islamic Legitimate Body of al- Nusra Front in the city of al- Bokamal issued a resolution of demolishing the church completely, where they put it down using bulldozers.

 

In July 2014, Islamic State have seizes the whole city and make it that have been joined to “the state of al- Forat” that contains the Syrian city of al- Bokamal and Iraqi city of al- Qaem, where Islamic State have seized the properties of Christians who left the city and wrote on the walls of properties “owned by Islamic State”.

 

SOHR activists could make a survey for properties seized by Islamic State:

 

The first family:

  • A real estate of land with an area of about 30 acres located in the center of al- Bokamal City.

The Second family:

  • A real estate with an area of 300m located in the city market.
  • An old house with an area about 500m2 located at the first of Baghdad street in the city of al- Bokamal.

 

The third family:

  • A real estate of land with an area about 10 acres located in the public street of the city.
  • A real estate of land with an area of 5 acres located behind the court in the city of al- Bokamal.
  • 15 stores and 10 apartments.

In addition to, IS has seized some houses owned these families.

 

  • The city of al- Mayadin

There is on family in the city of al- Mayadin consisting of 3 brothers, including 2 doctors. The family was inhabiting in a house located at the start of al- Takeyyi street in the market of al- Mayadin city. The family continued living in the city until the arrive of Islamic State and seizing the city, where they gave them a deadline until mid- September in 2014 to choose whether to “pay jizyah” (a tax paid by non- Muslims particularly Christians and Jewish to Islam state) or to leave the territory of “Islam state”. The decision of family was to leave the city and live in the province of Homs. Thus, IS seized the house which is estimated at tens of millions Syrian pounds.

 

 

  • The city of Deir Ezzor

The city of Deir Ezzor is considered the largest city in the province of Deir Ezzor in terms of the presence of Christianity followers, where there are 150 families, more than half of them Syriac Orthodox, who participated the daily demonstrations against  the dictatorial regime. The daily bombardment and blockade imposed by the regime troops forced a lot of Christian families to displace to the outside of the city, then the rest families follow them after the appearance of some Islamic factions and al- Nusra Front in the city.

 

The 150 families distributed among 5 sects as follows:

  • The Syriac Orthodox sect which was going to the church of “ al- Sayyedah Maryam al- Azraa ( Virgin Mary Church)” located in the neighborhood of al- Reshdeyyi in the city of Deir Ezzor. The Syriac Orthodox is considered the biggest Christian sect that makes up about 50% of Christians in the city. The church was shelled by the regime forces causing material damages in the church building. In September 2012, the rebel fighters found a cross made of gold inside the church which was a frontline with the regime forces, where the rebels handed the cross over to the secretary of the church. In October 2012, al- Nusra Front detonated a booby- trapped car near the church leading to destroy big parts of it.
  • The Syriac Catholics sect which is a very small sect consisting of 2 families that were going to a special church in the city which is “the church of Syriac Catholic”.
  • The Arminian Orthodox. The followers of this sect were going to the church of “Shohadaa al- Arman” located in the neighborhood of al- Reshdeyyi which was bombed by IS using IEDs in September 2014.
  • The Arminian Catholics sect which has only one church in the city of Deir Ezzor.
  • The Latin sect or the Capuchins. This sect has only one church “ Yasu’ al- Malek li al- Abaa al- Kabbosheyyin (Jesus the King for Capuchin Popes)” which was bombed by al- Nusra Front using IEDs in the mid- April in 2013.

Monitored and documented by SOHR, Jan/7/2015. 

 

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