Five dead as Christian villages in Turkey attacked by suicide bomber

St Mary church (Idto d'Yoldath-Aloho) is believed to be the oldest in the world.Facebook

Five people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a checkpoint between two Syriac Orthodox villages in south-eastern Turkey on Wednesday.

The bombing took place no more than 100m from St Mary church (Idto d'Yoldath-Aloho) in Hah, Tur Abdin, following clashes between pro and anti AKP Kurds.

St Mary is believed to be the oldest church in the world. According to tradition, it is built on the place where the three Wise Men passed on their way to visit Jesus in Bethlehem, and to which they later returned. A temple was therefore erected in the name of Jesus' mother.

Tur Abdin is a mountainous region meaning 'The Mountain of the Servants of God'. It is considered the heartland of Syriac Orthodox Christianity, and for many people it is as important as Jerusalem.

"Hah is my heart and soul... it is one of the most important places for our people in the world," Nuri Kino, an investigative journalist and founder of advocacy group A Demand For Action, told Christian Today. 

"Yuldath Aloho has faced many wars and genocides and never been destroyed. Yesterday all the windows were crashed. We feel with all those that were killed, no human blood, no matter if they are Turks, Kurds or Assyrian/Syriacs should be shared."

Kino urged warring factions to end their conflict, so "the remaining of our people can live in peace."

"The inhabitants in our villages are vulnerable and we are pleading to the world to stop them from being hurt. Yesterday was a day of total shock for us, we are losing our people in Iraq and Syria and now this in Turkey," he said.

"We are tired of tears, tired of being hurt in country after country. The people of Tur Abdin stand not alone."