In scenes chillingly reminiscent of the 2014 targeting of Christians in Iraq by Islamic State, Kurdish militia in north-east Syria are spraying graffiti on to Christian properties to mark them for confiscation.
A recently released video shows Arabic writing spray-painted on the wall of the house of an Armenian Christian family in Qamishli. The inscription reads: “Seized by the Executive Committee of Qamishli” – the Committee is the self-proclaimed administration of the Kurdish YPG militia, who control the region.
Christian men from Qamishli have already been abducted for use as conscripts in the Kurds fight against Turkish forces, part of what Christian community representatives have stated is a programme of intimidation.
The homes and businesses of believers in Mosul in northern Iraq were similarly graffitied with slogans and signs, before the Islamic State militants ordered the Christian population to leave or face execution when they seized the city in 2014.
The Australian who filmed and publicised the video, which has been corroborated by the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs), stated, “What the YPG does is reminiscent of what ISIS did to the Christians in northern Iraq.
“It has confiscated many more buildings like this … They are confiscating rather than protecting our homes in the Qamishli and Hassake areas and they are even occupying entire villages … They are treating us like second-class citizens … employing various tactics to frighten and subject our people with the aim of taking possession of our final remaining properties and lands, thereby transforming our ancestral homeland into an autonomous Kurdish region.”