On August 7, 2018, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), threatened to close the Syriac Orthodox school in Derbiseye, Syria after school officials refused to adopt a Kurdish teaching curriculum imposed on them by the PKK.
The Kurdish-language primary school curricula introduced by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria in October, 2015 was heavily criticized for being too ideological and prioritizing a single view over all others.
This is not the first time the PKK targets Christian schools in Syria: in November, 2015, sixteen Assyrian and Armenian organizations issued a statement protesting Kurdish expropriation of private property in the Hasaka province of Syria.
Following the August 7, 2018 threats to close down Christian schools, the PKK and the Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), which receives U.S. military aid, began a campaign of harassment and intimidation against the Christian community, churches and schools of Hasaka, based in Syria’s Qamishli. Leaders and priests of the Christian churches in Hasaka issued a statement against these attacks on schools and churches, as well as the confiscation of Christian properties.