Armed Syrian militias allied with Turkey have reportedly been demanding that Kurdish Christians in Afrin province convert to Islam or face execution. In a video circulated by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a militia fighter described the Kurds as “infidels” and offered them a choice between converting to Islam or facing decapitation.
“By Allah, if you repent and come back to Allah, then know that you are our brothers,” said the man. “But if you refuse, then we see.”
“The video is 100 percent authentic,” Rami Abdulrahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization that released the video told The Independent. Abdulrahman adding that he is also concerned about the fate of some Yazidi villages in Afrin captured by the advancing Turkish forces. Abdulrahman said he had seen videos of militants interrogating passersby, asking them how many times a day they pray.
Such declarations and actions have often preceded mass killings in the region, and Christian groups worldwide have been frantically trying to raise awareness for the issue so that the world can take action before it’s too late.
“Turkey has invaded Afrin with its militias and a big part of the city is under siege, and inside are anywhere between 300,000 and 500,000 people who are surrounded and in danger,” Johannes de Jong, Director of Sallux (Formerly Christian Political Foundation for Europe) told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “We have footage of jihadists on the front line, plundering Christian houses and threatening to behead anyone who will not convert.”
De Jong stressed that Israel must do what it can in order to prevent what he could only describe as a genocide, saying that “the Kurds are Israel’s allies against ISIS. Israel should not appease Turkey by keeping silent and allowing half a million people to be slaughtered.”
On social media, footage of masses attempting to flee Afrin began circulating, alongside reports that Syrian army roadblocks on the main routes have been demanding bribes of up to $4,000 per family in order to let them pass.
— Goran Shakhawan (@GoranShakhawan) March 12, 2018
TPS was unable to contact persons in the region as Turkish forces have reportedly shut down communications in the area.