Syria: Christians increasingly victims of illegal property confiscations and expropriations

July 27, 2022

The persecution of Christians in Syria is ongoing; not only have most of the native Christians left, but those who remain are in a dire situation. The ISIS caliphate has been destroyed, but ISIS remains a presence in the region, and Shia militias also make life difficult for Christians. Meanwhile, local officials, as is so often the case, do not aid the Christians, but aid those who are fraudulently seizing their property or engaging in other illegal actions.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Syria, see here.

“Christian Properties Throughout Northeastern Syria Under Threat,” International Christian Concern, July 25, 2022:

07/25/2022 Syria (International Christian Concern) – In northeastern Syria, Christians are increasingly becoming the victims of illegal property confiscations and expropriations. The Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO), which works on behalf of the Christian Assyrian, Syrian, and Chaldean populations in the area, has served as a major source of reporting on the escalation of these crimes against Christians. Evidently, Christians who have emigrated from Syria in recent years, amidst the chaos of ongoing armed conflict, are particularly vulnerable to these fraudulent property seizures because they are not as easily aware of fraud attempts and are not well positioned to fight against them. One particular case of attempted property seizure against a Christian family in Syria was highlighted, but according to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), legal cases relating to the seizure or illicit sale of Christian properties have been registered in a number of urban centers: Qamishli, Hassakè, Derek, and Tal Tamr. These areas are all under the control of the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), also known as “Rojava.”

AINA and ADO sources report that members of the AANES have used their influence in many cases to facilitate these property crimes against Christians. According to the ADO, the Bashar al-Assad government and influential officials in the AANES are similarly utilizing forged documentation to claim ownership over many Assyrian Christian properties. Christians throughout northeastern Syria are vulnerable to illegal property seizures because so many of them have emigrated to escape the armed conflict. According to ADO, roughly 20,000 of the formerly 22,000 Syriac Assyrians in the country have emigrated….