The Rise of the Crusaders: Syrian Christians Take Up Arms Against Jihad

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY DELIL SOULEIMAN - Syriac Christian women, members of the battalion called the 'Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers' fighting the Islamic State group, take part in a training on December 1, 2015 at their camp in the town of al-Qahtaniyah, …
Syrian female Christian soldiers taking on the fight against the Muslim Turks. – (Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

Just days after President Donald Trump pulled out US trumps from northeastern Syria — the area had served as a “buffer-zone” against ISIS and Turkish incursions — President Recep Erdogan began its hostilities, including airstrikes with US-purchased F-16 killing both Kurds, Christians, and Yazidis, as well as displacing over 300,000 people. A week after Erdogan said he would cease his attacks, as a result of a 5-day ceasefire agreement anchored by Vice President Mike Pence — in reality it was Russian President Vladimir Putin — allowing Kurdish troops to evacuate from the area. Trump then announced that the US will lift the sanctions on Turkey that were imposed over their operation against the Kurds and others. He went so far as to publicly praise Erdogan: “I just want to thank and congratulate President Erdogan. He’s a friend of mine, and I’m glad we didn’t have a problem because, frankly, he’s a hell of a leader.” The “ceasefire,” however, has only been a strategic solution to give advantage to Erdogan’s allied jihadists: the al-Qaeda militants who are now reinforced by surviving ISIS commanders.”

In fact, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu clarified that the agreement with the United States constitutes a “pause” of the military operation “Source of peace,” which will turn into a definitive end of the offensive only if the Kurds withdraw entirely, as agreed. “It is not a ceasefire,” said Cavusoglu in statements broadcast live on al-Jazeera satellite TV. “Turkey will be able to stop the operation only when all the terrorist elements have left the area along the border between Syria and Turkey.

The White House said Turkey had committed to three things: protect civilians, religious minorities, including Christians and ensure no humanitarian crisis takes place. So far, all three have been violated. For the first time in 100 years, Syriac church bells in northeast Syria rang out for hours to warn local people to stay in their shelters and the church cried out for the indiscriminate Turkish bombing to stop.

Multiple sources have reported that Erdogan even ordered the use of chemical weapons; they were dropped in the border town of Ras al-Ayn after images and video surfaced of civilians, including children, suffering gruesome chemical burns, reports Newsweek. Christians have also been numbered among the casualties. Yet, while the Kurds have shown a demeanor in fighting the Islamic Turks, Christians, including women, have also joined in the crusade against Erdogan’s jihad.

SEE PHOTOS OF CHILDREN BURNED BY TURKISH CHEMICAL WEAPONS – WARNING GRAPHIC

Kurdish news service Rudaw reported on Tuesday that Syrian Christians living near the Turkish border are taking up arms to protect their villages from invading Turkish forces and their Syrian allies. The same report focused on a woman named Madelin, an Assyrian Christian mother of three, who joined up with the Syriac Military Council (known by the acronym MFS), a Christian militia aligned with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). “We Assyrians are 17,000 people spread across the Jazira Region in northeastern Syria,” Madelin explained.

Christian leaders in Syria have stated that Turkey’s invasion is a “form of ethnic cleansing” against Kurds and Christians in the region so the country can move its refugees there. Three Christian have been killed in Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-held areas in northeast Syria. In Qamishli, a Syriac Christian and his wife died, while in Ras al-Ain an additional Syriac Christian civilian was killed. Ten civilians were injured in the attacks. Bassam Ishak, President of the Syriac National Council of Syria, said: “People were so scared, they were telling me, ‘They are bombing us right now! We think this is a message to the Kurds and Christians there to leave, so Turkey can move refugees there. We think it’s a form of ethnic cleansing.”

The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) noted that “some Christians” have been “mistreated by the Kurds,” but said they are “united in their opposition to Turkey entering the area.” In fact, the Syriac component of the SDF published a video of Christian soldiers at prayer in a church. The headline said, “Our duty is to protect our land.”

This would not be, of course, the first time Christians and other religious minorities have had to fight against the jihad of the Muslim Turks. In the 14th century the Ottomans had established themselves in the Balkans and had penetrated deep into Europe despite repeated efforts by Christians to repulse them. By the mid 1550s the Turks had slowly conceived of a long-term offensive, a pincers movement first by sea and then by land, to conquer the whole northern shore of the Mediterranean. Their ultimate aim was to take all Italy; then all Europe. It was not until the victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 that, under the coalition of Pope St. Pius V, the Islamic onslaught began to be turned back as Western civilization was saved — the Crusades were formally over by the 16th century, though the spirit of defending Christendom against Islamic jihad was still in place.

Detail from miniature painting The Prophet Muhammad, Ali, and the Companions at the Massacre of the Prisoners of the Jewish Tribe of Beni Qurayzah, illustration of a 19th-century text by Muhammad Rafi Bazil. Manuscript now in the British Library. (Image: Public Domain)

As I explained in detail in my book,  Islam: Religion of Peace? The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up, history demonstrates that as Muslims grew in power, their use of violence changed from skirmishes to outright warfare — the same can be applied to Erdogan. We see this during the last nine to ten years of the Prophet Muhammad’s life, when he personally participated or deputized eighty-six battles: an average of nine-plus battles a year, and they culminated in intensity until he died. According to Patricia Crone, the renowned Islamic historian, after the capture of Mecca in 630, “Muhammad’s God endorsed a policy of conquest, instructing his believers to fight against unbelievers wherever they might be found; and if we accept the testimony of non-Muslim sources, he specifically told them to fight the unbelievers in Syria [the Caravan raids], Syria being the land to which Jews and Arabs had a joint right by virtue of their common Abrahamic descent. In short, Muhammad had to conquer, his followers liked to conquer, and his deity told him to conquer.”

That is why, in the spirit of the Crusades, which saved civilization as we know it, we must not buy the lies of politicians that Islamists, in this case Erdogan, seek peace. To do so would be putting the same faith into the “peace” accord of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler in 1938. Instead, we must make ourselves heard in out support the Christians who are fighting alongside the Kurds against Erdogan’s jihad — the same one carried out carried out by the Ottomans the Armenian and Assyrian Christians during World War I.