Washington, D.C.– On Monday evening, The Department of Treasury announced it is sanctioning senior Turkish government officials and ministries in response to Turkey’s reckless actions in Northeast Syria.
This followed an Executive Order from President Trump that was enacted to protect civilians and religious minorities in Northeast Syria. On Saturday, the president also announced that his administration would pledge $50 million in stabilization assistance to ethnic and religious minorities in Northeast Syria and stated that “the United States condemns the persecution of Christians, and we pledge our support to Christian communities everywhere suffering under the burden of oppression and brutal violence. Our hearts and partnership join these brave believers in their religious struggles.”
While these are steps in the right direction, In Defense of Christians remains concerned over the physical safety of the Christians and other religious minorities in Northeast Syria. In the mere week that United States troops were pulled from Syria, there have been dozens of confirmed reports of attacks on Christian communities, resulting in many civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure.
IDC is also deeply concerned by reports released Sunday night that Kurdish leadership in Northeast Syria has struck a deal with the Assad regime and Russia, and that regime forces will be moving into the Northeast promptly. IDC urges Vice President Pence to ensure in his negotiations that the Assad regime is also held to account for how it treats the religious minority groups in the region, many of whom are newly displaced by Turkish attacks.