Derik, Syria– Historically, Christians constitute an important social and cultural component in Derik city, northeast of Syria. They lived peacefully with the other city’s components. However, the Syrian crisis overshadowed this reality and led to a large surge of migration out of the city, especially among Christians.
Although the city of Derik (al-Malikiyah) was not directly involved in military conflicts, the humanitarian and service-related situations in the city started to gradually deteriorate after the Syrian crisis shifted from peaceful protests to military actions in late 2011. The city of Derik, which has a population of 60 thousand according to the official census and of which Kurds constitute a majority, witnesses a daily migration movement with an average of two Christian families a day. Unofficial estimated statistics point out that more than 60% of Christians have fled the city, heading to European countries, mostly Sweden and Germany.
Abo Yusuf, a Christian citizen from Derik, told ARA News: “We do not feel comfortable towards this migration. It is not good neither to us nor to the other region’s components. It is dangerous that one or two Christian families flee every day. We must not leave our country because we need to defend it to live peacefully.”
Earlier last year, an armed Christian Syriac force was established as ‘police’ for Christians. It is known as Sutoro, they coordinate with the Assayish forces –affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD)– and some aligned forces.
“However, the Syriac Sutoro force became a trouble for many Christians, while unconcern for some others.” said Jakob, a Christian young man from Derik.
Jacob told ARA News: “As Christians, we know that Sutoro are merely fabricated forces that make problems, arrest people and block streets. Alongside with the difficult livelihood situations, the close of the schools and lack of electricity, Sutoro was behind the escape of some Christians.” Yacob added: “We need a democratic not an arrest and intimidation state.”
According to the domestic estimates, 20% of Syria’s Christians live in the Syrian region of al-Jazeera (or Hasakah governorate) where Derik is located. They represent different ethnic groups, including Syriacs, Assyrians and Armenians.
Reporting by: Memo Ahmad
Source: ARA News
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