US officials from the Department of Defense travelled to Ankara, Turkey on Monday to dissuade President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from invading Northeast Syria where many ethnic minorities live, including thousands of Christians.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Turkey has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the Syrian border and Erdogan is planning on launching a full-scale military operation against US-backed Kurdish fighters East of the Euphrates.
“We entered Afrin, Jarabulus, and Al-Bab [in northern Syria], and now we’re going to enter east of the Euphrates,” Erdogan told an inauguration ceremony in Bursa.
A US official told Reuters that “bilateral discussions” with Turkey are underway “on the possibility of a safe zone with US and Turkish forces that addresses Turkey’s legitimate security concerns in northern Syria.”
However, Erdogan does not want the proposed security zone to be patrolled by both US and Turkish forces. He insists Turkey have full control of the zone.
For many Christians and ethnic minorities, this would mean disaster.
“Most of our Christian people live in this area and if any military operation happened in this area, it will be a real fear on our people,” Abdelahad Gawriye of the Syriac Union Party told CBN News.
More than 100,000 Syriac Christians, one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, live there and they fear Erdogan will finish the genocide that ISIS started.