QAMISHLI, Syria: Three people were killed in northeast Syria on Sunday when a suicide bomber attacked an event commemorating the massacre of Christians more than a century ago, state media and a security source said.
The attack in the city of Qamishli took place as locals gathered at a hall to commemorate the deaths of tens of thousands of Christians by the Ottoman army starting in 1915 in what is known as the Sayfo (“Sword”) massacre.
Armenian Massacre, Turkey 1915
The Sayfo massacre was decidedly the Ottoman's (read Islam's) genocide of Assyrian Christians in southeast Turkey and northwestern Iran. It amounted to between 150,000 and 300,000 dead. It was done concurrently with genocides of Greek and Armenian Christians.
The Greek genocide was instigated by the government of the Ottoman Empire against the Greek population of the Empire and it included massacres, forced deportations involving death marches, summary expulsions, arbitrary execution, and the destruction of Christian Orthodox cultural, historical, and religious monuments. According to various sources, several hundred thousand Ottoman Greeks died during this period.
The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust and the Armenian Massacres, was the Ottoman government's systematic extermination of up to 1.5 million of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland, which lies within the present-day Republic of Turkey.
The Armenian community was made up of three Christian denominations: the Armenian Apostolic to which the overwhelming majority of Armenians belonged, and the Armenian Catholic and Armenian Protestant communities.
More Armenian Genocide, Turkey 1915
A photographer working with Agence France-Presse and attending the event said he heard the blast and saw pieces of flesh lying next to damaged cars.
“The suicide attacker tried to enter the hall where people were gathered but was stopped by local security forces, and he detonated himself among them,” a security source at the scene told AFP.
The security forces belonged to the Sotoro, a Christian militia based in Syria’s northeast.
“Three Sotoro members were killed and five wounded,” the security source said.
One Sotoro member told AFP that the suicide bomber “detonated himself near our checkpoint after he couldn’t reach his real target, Patriarch Ignatius.”
Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II is the head of the Syriac Orthodox church and was leading the commemoration.
More Armenians massacred by Ottomans, Turkey 1915-1919
Syria’s state news agency SANA also reported three people killed in a “terrorist suicide explosion” in Qamishli but did not specify whether they were civilians or security forces.
Situated along the border with Turkey, Qamishli has been regularly targeted by suicide bombings, many of which have been claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
Control of the Kurdish-majority city is split between Kurdish militia and pro-government fighters.
Syriac Christians belong to the eastern Christian tradition and pray in Aramaic. They include both Orthodox and Catholic branches, and constitute around 15 percent of Syria’s 1.2 million Christians.
Where Islam is involved, some things don't change!