The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and survival strategies of Christian communities in Greater Syria

Author: Sotiris Roussos

Publication: Contemporary Levant

DOI: 10.1080/20581831.2021.1881719

Published online: 24 February 2021

The millet system compartmentalised religious communities into different sociopolitical environments under the overarching Ottoman imperial realm. However, during the nineteenth century, state transformation and crisis and the global re-allocation of political and economic power led to the exacerbation of ethnoreligious conflicts. Facing the collapse of the Ottoman imperium and the threat of extinction, the Greek Orthodox, Assyrian, Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox communities developed five survival strategies. The first was co-optation by state authorities; the second, protection of the Great Powers; the third armed resistance and the creation of autonomous enclaves; the fourth was that of exodus; and the last was to integrate themselves into Arab nationalism, lowering the banner of religion and becoming strong advocates of an Arab national identity encompassing Muslims and Christians alike. This paper aims to present a comparative approach to these strategies in the period from the beginning of the twentieth century to the formation of the Mandates.

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Christianity in the Middle East (CME) | Report no.1

The aim of the CME report is to present and address the main features related to Christians living in the Middle East in regard to religious plularism and peaceful coexistence. The region of focus includes Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Moreover, emphasis is attributed to the relationship between the state and its institutions with the Christian communities, as well as in pinpoiting the factors and effects related to the Christian exodus from the Middle East. The documentation of the report reflects the research openly available on the CME website and serves as a database for the living conditions of the Christians in the Middle East. The CME reports are an ongoing endeavour, aiming at providing continuous updates on the state of religious pluralism for the Christians of the Middle East. The findings presented, therefore, are not exhaustive, but highlight main trends and continuities.

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Christian families in Syria torn apart by Turkey’s attacks

Author: Richard Spencer

Publication Date: 3/10/2021

Source: The Times

The Christians of Syria’s Khabur valley thought their suffering had ended with the crushing of Islamic State, but they were wrong. Three years after the caliphate was extinguished, they are being bombed again.

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Christians Concerned About Turkish Attacks in Northeast Syria

Author: Sirwan Kajjo

Publication Date: 14/9/2021

Source: Voice of America

Syrian Christian leaders are expressing concerns over escalating Turkish attacks in northeast Syria, saying the recent military activity has driven many Christians and members of other minority groups from their homes.

Military officials in the region said last week that Turkey carried out attacks against the Christian-majority town of Tel Tamer and surrounding villages.

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IHH provides aid to the last Syrian Christian of Idlib

Author: Ibrahim Mukhtar

Publication Date: 28/9/2021

Source: Anadolu Agency

Turkish humanitarian organization IHH on Tuesday delivered aid to Michel Boutros, a 90-year-old Christian who lives alone in Syria’s northern city of Idlib.

IHH came to know about the plight of Boutros following Anadolu Agency’s coverage of his story on Sept. 9.

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YPG terrorists arrest Christians in Syria’s Hassakeh; torture feared

Publication Date: 22/9/2021

Source: Sabah

Notorious for their ethnic cleansing, PKK’s Syrian affiliate U.S.-backed YPG terrorists have arrested two members of the Christian Syriac Orthodox Creed Council in Syria’s northeastern Hassakeh province and the terrorist group may be torturing them, a watchdog said in a report Wednesday.

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Repeated Turkish shelling threatens Christians of Syria’s Tel Tamr

Publication Date: 8/9/2021

Source: North Press

80-year-old Assyrian Elshwa Youssef heads to her neighbor’s house in the middle of her village, Tel Tawil, west of Syria’s Tel Tamr, after Turkish forces and Turkish-backed armed Syrian factions shelled the area.

On August 29, the Assyrian villages around the Khabur River were subjected to heavy bombardment, which resulted in massive material losses which drove the residents to flee before they returned once again.

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Displaced Christian opens only restaurant in destroyed Syrian town

Publication Date: 20/9/2021

Source: Open Doors

Six years after Irbin was captured by rebels, Joseph Hakimeh returned to discover the town he once called home destroyed. “My heart was grieving,” he says. “Yet I decided not to surrender and promised myself to come back.”

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Pope to new Armenian Patriarch: closeness to Syria, Lebanon

Publication Date: 24/9/2021

Source: Vatican News

After his election, the Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians wrote to Pope Francis requesting “Ecclesiastica Communio” (ecclesiastical communion), which the Pope granted in a letter on Thursday. The Holy Father said he was sharing the joy of the Armenian Catholic Church, which prayed as the synod first met in Lebanon and then in Rome to elect the successor to the late Krikor Bedros XX Gabroyan, who died on May 25.

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Diver finds 900-year-old crusader sword off Israel's coast

Publication Date: 19/10/2021

Source: BBC

An amateur diver exploring shallow waters off northern Israel has found a sword thought to have belonged to a crusader knight 900 years ago.

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Man charged with murdering his mother because she converted to Christianity

Publication Date: 27/9/2021

Source: The Times of Israel

A 27-year-old man from northern Israel was charged on Monday with murdering his mother and hiding her body last month, after she converted from Islam to Orthodox Christianity.

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