New Report Says At Least 124 Churches in Syria Have Been Attacked Since Beginning of Civil War

Displaced Assyrians, who fled from the villages around Tel Tamr, sit outside the Assyrian Church in al-Hasaka city, as they wait for news about the Assyrians abductees remaining in Islamic State hands March 9, 2015. Islamic State released 19 Assyrian Christian captives in Syria on March 1 after processing them through a sharia court, a monitoring group which tracks the conflict said. More than 200 Assyrians remain in Islamic State hands, said the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. | (Photo: Reuters/Rodi Said)

At least 124 attacks on churches in Syria have occurred since the beginning of the Syrian civil war with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad being responsible for 60% of those attacks, a new report from an opposition-associated monitoring group claims.

The Qatar-based Syrian Network for Human Rights — a nongovernmental organization that monitors the Syrian conflict — released a new report on Sept. 5 titled “Targeting Christian Places of Worship in Syria is a Threat to World Heritage.

The report draws upon the organization’s daily monitoring of news and developments as well as its network of sources in several towns and communities that it has built up since it launched in 2011.

The report’s record of attacks includes bombings that targeted civilian places of worship with no military headquarters or equipment nearby as well as instances in which places of worship have been turned into a military headquarters.

The record of attacks also includes places of worship that have been subject to more than one attack, in some cases carried out by different parties.

The report finds that the Syrian regime “bears the primary responsibility” for just over 60% of the “targeting of places of Christian places of worship in Syria” between March 2011 and September 2019.

The report claims that the Assad regime is responsible for at least 75 attacks against 48 churches in the eight years since the civil war began.

According to the report, attacks attributed to the Assad regime were carried out by the army, security forces, local militias or Shiite foreign militias (such as those backed by Iran to support Assad).

The report also shows that factions of the armed opposition are responsible for 33 attacks against 21 churches, while the Islamic State extremist group was responsible for 10 attacks against eight churches. The al-Qaeda-linked Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (an alliance between the Fatah al-Sham Front and other opposition groups) are responsible for two attacks on two churches.

Four attacks were attributed to “other parties.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith