His Eminence Mor Eustathius Matta Roham
Metropolitan of Jazirah & Euphrates –Syrian Orthodox Archbishopric
Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE (Exclusive)
Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE received an email from Archbishop Eustathius Matta Roham (Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Jazirah and Euphrates) regarding the situation in Jazirah Archdiocese.
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
I greet you in the Name of Christ our Lord and Savior.
I am grateful to God that the Internet is still functioning in Hassake. I am delighted to update you about the latest news from Jazirah Archdiocese.
This morning, it was arranged for Father Touma Qas Ibrahim, our priest of St. Thomas Church in Ras Al-Ayn, to go into the town in order to bring our prayer Books, especially the old hand written books. We are grateful to God that Father Touma went in and out the church peacefully. Father Touma told me that the town is now under the control of the opposition, and there was shooting heard in some places. He was able to bring with him one family (Hannawi Family), who could not flee on last Thursday when the town was occupied at about 2:00 a.m. in by the opposition. People left behind them their properties and valuable things, and now it is very risky for them to go into the town. It seems that the current fighting in the town will bring destruction to it. The destiny of our Christian community and churches as well as other communities in Ras Al-Ayn is not going to be better than the destiny of other towns, like Dair Al-Zor and Homs.
Yesterday afternoon, 9 November, Father Michael Yacoub of St. Osyo Church in Derbasieh left the town with his family and arrived in Hassake, where the headquarters of the Archdiocese is. On the road to Hassaka, He called me from his cell phone and said that he had to rush out with his family for their safety, without thinking to bring any valuable Church books. When he arrived in Hassake, I learnt from him that there was a call upon people to leave their homes, and it was said that the opposition is on the Turkish border, and is ready to occupy the town. He said that there was shooting in the air when he left Derbasieh. In the evening, Father Michael made contacts with his friends from the Kurdish community, and they told him that the town is in peace, and the opposition did not cross the border. He said that there was a deal made between the opposition and the Kurdish community in town. The opposition told the Kurdish people in Derbasieh, who count the majority in town, to ask the government officials to leave the town; otherwise the opposition will cross the border and move them out. The government officials accepted the offer to move out without fighting. When I asked Father Michael about the shouting, he said: it was a kind of a game to give people the impression that the situation is a very delicate one. Also, he said that they told him later the shooting was an expression of joy to reach a successful deal by saving the lives of many people.
On 10th November, Father Michael went back to Derbasieh and he called me from there and conveyed that the town is in peace.
I receive many calls from different churches, especially from Kamishly. They need to know what has happened and what could happen to large towns like Kamishly and Hassake in my Archdiocese. There is a great fear among families of different communities about their future. People are so much afraid of a real war, which might happen at any time between Turkey and Syria, because of the Turkish clear interference in the Syrian crises. This war could lead other counties into regional war. People are so much worried about their children, women and properties. Many of them are getting themselves ready to immigrate to Europe and to other safe neighboring countries. It is very difficult to say what could happen tomorrow.
All we need now is your prayers for peace, and your support to end this evil fighting.
With Christ’s love and blessings,
Your brother in Christ,
Eustathius Matta Roham
Archbishop of Jazirah and Euphrates,
Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
OCP News Service