Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 14 June |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Francisa de Paula de Jesus Isabel
home iconNews
line break icon

ISIS Advancing on More Christian Areas of Syria?

Michael Goodine-cc

John Burger - published on 06/04/15 - updated on 06/07/17

Fears grow of battles for Aleppo and Hasakah

The Islamic State group may be closing in on two Syrian cities where significant Christian populations exist.

Reuters reported that Syrian troops and militia battled on Wednesday to repel an Islamic State attack on the city of Hasakah in the Northeast.

"IS is attacking Hasakah, and the situation is not that secure," said Father Emanuel Youkhana, who runs the Christian Aid Program of Northern Iraq. "IS can advance probably as the Arab Sunni tribes may join/help IS."

And on Tuesday, the New York Times reported:


Building on recent gains in Iraq and Syria, Islamic State militants are marching across northern Syria toward Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. … Beginning last week, government airstrikes intensified in towns northeast of Aleppo, killing scores of civilians and rebel fighters. Shortly afterward, the Islamic State escalated a longstanding attempt to seize the area and sever the main supply route to Turkey, a lifeline for rival insurgents and the citizens living in their territory.

The closed US Embassy in Syria, which still maintains a Twitter account, said that reports indicate that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is carrying out air strikes against rebel groups that would actually help support ISIS’ advance on Aleppo.

"Obviously, the news has been quite ominous, and Aleppo is in trouble, regardless," said Joop Koopman, communications director for the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. 

Aid to the Church in Need recently sponsored a visit to the US by Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo. The archbishop wrote to supporters May 27 that "ISIS, which has already killed thousands in the region, is terrifying the faithful of Aleppo."

"After Maloula, Mosul, Idlib and Palmyra, what is the West waiting for before it intervenes?" Archbishop Jeanbart wrote. "What are the great nations waiting for before they put a halt to these monstrosities?"

"The fall of Aleppo would be a critical blow to the American-led coalition that is trying to roll back the Islamic State with a combination of Iraqi and rebel ground forces backed by a bombing campaign," the Times said.

Meanwhile, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Tuesday that US-led coalition jets carried out several airstrikes on ISIS-held areas in the al-Shaddadi area south of Hasakah.

"SOHR received information that IS brought more than 400 militants from the city of Deir Ezzor to south fronts of the city of al-Hasakah that has witnessed violent clashes with the regime forces and allied militiamen," the group said. 

Hasakah is the city where about 400 Christians fled when ISIS forces invaded the Khabour River area in February. Many of the residents of the 35 Christian towns were kidnapped at that time, and some were executed. There has been no report of captives’ whereabouts since then. Only a few have been released.

John Burger is news editor for Aleteia’s English edition.

Tags:
Islamist MilitantsSyria
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Philip Kosloski
Miracle prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
2
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
3
RECONSTRUCTED CHRIST
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
4
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Offer your heart to Jesus with this prayer
5
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
6
Kathleen N. Hattrup
The short prayer Pope Francis says every night
7
SACRED HEART
Philip Kosloski
5 Things to know about the Sacred Heart feast
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.