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Christian teacher survives violent attack in north-east Syria

Middle East and North Africa

Christian teacher survives violent attack in north-east Syria

Eddie Gaboro Hanna of the World Council of Arameans visits Isa Rashid at his hospital bedside. Photo credit: WCA

A teacher responsible for Christian schools in Qamishli, north-east Syria, survived a vicious assault with baseball bats outside his home, days after meeting with Kurdish representatives who forcibly closed Christian schools in August.

On 22 September 2018, Isa Rashid was attacked from behind as he left his house by two unknown assailants and left for dead. Mr Rashid’s head split open as the assailants repeatedly struck him with the bats. Left bleeding on his doorstep, Mr Rashid was eventually found and taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Two days prior to the assault, he met with YPG officials who are imposing their own ideological and Kurdish-oriented syllabus on Christian schools in the region. Mr. Rashid refused to be pressured into the official’s demands to implement the study program.

Kurdish militia closed down four Christian schools in the towns of Qamishli, Derik and Darbasiyah in north-east Syria on 28 August. It is understood the schools were closed by the self-proclaimed administration of the Kurdish YPG militia, which is in control of parts of north-east Syria, after they refused to move to teaching the administration’s “ideologically saturated” curriculum. Christian residents and church leaders took the streets to demonstrate against the closures in Qamishli.

Mr Rashid is still being treated in a local hospital and, at the time of writing, no arrests have been made.