Christians are being killed en masse and tortured by Islamic State jihadists, and children are being beheaded in front of their parents; raped; and burned to death. Now Syriac Christians have decided to join other forces in a just war against Islamic State mujahideen and make a tough stance of defense against the heinous brutality of the Islamic State:
The ground assault is being carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a majority Kurdish and Arab alliance, but dozens of Christians from the Syriac sect have also joined the fight….The jihadists “blew up Raqa’s churches and forced Christians to convert to Islam.
Two years ago, news emerged that some Christian women were “leaving behind their jobs, studies and children to battle the Islamic State.” Austria recently became one of the first countries in the world to formally recognize the genocide being committed against Christians in Iraq and Syria.
“Rosaries and Rifles: Syria Christians Fighting Back Against Islamic State in Raqa”, Breitbart, June 29, 2017:
RAQA, SYRIA (AFP) – An ivory-coloured rosary swings from the rearview mirror of Abboud Seryan’s pickup truck as he speeds through Syria’s Raqa, inspecting the positions of fellow Christian fighters taking on the Islamic State group.
Lively music blasts through the car speakers while the thin 23-year-old, wearing a military-style cap and a revolver tucked into his waist, waves to comrades in the western district of Al-Romaniya.
IS was ousted from the neighbourhood earlier this month as part of the US-backed offensive to defeat the jihadists in their northern Syrian bastion.
The ground assault is being carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a majority Kurdish and Arab alliance, but dozens of Christians from the Syriac sect have also joined the fight.
“We’re participating in the liberation of Raqa in the name of all Syrians. There’s no difference between Syriacs, Kurds, or Arabs. We’re all brothers,” Seryan says.
The jihadists “blew up Raqa’s churches and forced Christians to convert to Islam. This is also why we’re participating in this battle.”
Thousands of Syriac Christians once lived in Raqa alongside Armenians, Kurds and the city’s mainly Sunni Arab population, but many fled when IS overran the city in 2014.
On June 29 of that year, IS declared the establishment of a self-styled “Islamic caliphate” straddling areas under its control in Syria and neighbouring Iraq.
Christians could remain in Raqa if they paid a special tax called the jizya or converted to Islam — but many of them chose to flee.
As the fightback against IS intensified the Syriac Military Council (SMC) — formed in 2013 to defend the community during Syria’s civil war — joined with the SDF.
After a months-long operation to encircle Raqa, the SDF burst into the city on June 6 and are chipping away at jihadist-held districts, with help from heavy US-led coalition air strikes.
Now the SMC’s fighters are battling jihadists on the frontline in Raqa, some proudly wearing their religion on their sleeves — literally.
Many fighters have tattoos of rosaries inked around their wrists and the word “JESUS” printed down their forearms.
From an SMC position in Al-Romaniya, its fighters look out over a landscape of buildings perforated with gaping holes, collapsed rooftops and concrete walls spilling into the streets.
“The coalition air force carried out intense strikes… This is why there’s a lot of destruction in this neighbourhood,” Seryan says.
Aleksan Chmou, a Syriac fighter in a beige cap, says Syriac fighters coordinate closely with the SDF’s other factions.
He says he is driven to fight by IS atrocities against Syria’s minorities.
“I’m sacrificing for what they did to our people, our sects, for the churches they blew up. For all these things,” Chmou says……