Concern for Syria’s Christians Remains Despite Deal Between Turkey and Russia to Stop Attacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a news conference following their talks in Sochi, Russia October 22, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

A deal hammered out by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recip Tayyip Erdogan saw Turkish troops halting their advance into the Kurdish-run area of northern Syria.

The deal calls for Russian and Turkish troops to fill a military vacuum created by the United States withdrawal from northern Syria this month. It allows the Syrian government, now backed by Moscow, to re-establish dominance over the Kurdish-controlled area.

Under the terms of the deal, Kurdish fighters have a week to retreat from the Turkish border. Syria will allow Turkish troops more than six miles inside its perimeter. The purpose: to conduct joint patrols with Russian forces along the length of the border region. Turkey also maintains oversight of some of the land it seized inside Syria.

Turkey’s assault threatens Christians

The hope is that this accord is enough to stop the fighting, but concern for Syria’s Christians remains. Based on anecdotal social media reports from the region, forces targeted Christians frequently, leaving them in fear of a grim future in the shadow of Turkey’s invasion.

A spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs USA, Todd Nettleton, says, “I know that Christians are targeted by the different groups. We know the government of Turkey led by President Erdogan is not a friend to Christians. We know the militant Islamist groups that have been active in northern Syria are certainly not a friend to Christians. It’s not surprising at all that Christians would be targeted.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama