Fresh conflict in Syria threatens 'new exodus of Christians'

The Archbishop said that Western countries including the UK needed to acknowledge their own "mea culpa" for the current situation in Syria.(Photo: Unsplash/JRomeo)

Turkey's incursions into northern Syria are threatening a "new exodus of Christians", Aid to the Church in Need has warned. 

Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo told the charity that two Christians were killed on Thursday during attacks in Qamishli, in the north-east of the country. 

He said that around half of the Catholics and Orthodox Christians in Qamishli have already fled since 2010, with a similar proportion having left nearby Hassak√©. 

With the launch of the Turkish assault this week, he fears that the area will be depleted of the remaining Christians. 

"Now the conflict has become even more serious and I fear that many will emigrate," he said. 

He added: "I fear a similar exodus, if not a greater one."

He further warned that ISIS fighters could infiltrate Europe through Turkey following reports that thousands along with their families are on the run after a strike on Chirkin prison in Qamishli. 

But the Archbishop is frustrated not only with Turkey but the international community over its own military interventions in the country in recent years. 

"The United States, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Germany should all offer their own mea culpa," he said. 

"They acted in Syria for their own interests, hiding behind the ideals of freedom and democracy. Instead they have done nothing but weaken our country at the expense of its own people."

He said: "As always, everyone has their own interests, but it is we Christians who will suffer the consequences."

Without support from the US or other powerful nations, the Archbishop believes that the Kurds will lose the fight with Turkey. 

But he was also critical of defensive actions by the Kurds. 

"It was not a clever move from the Kurds. It was clear that no one would help them. Now they will lose everything," he said.