As the world is celebrating Christmas, churches in Deir Ezzor are no longer joining the celebration after all Christians were displaced from the region due to barbaric airstrikes by the regime and the capturing of large areas of the province by Daesh. Santa has not come to the city and the churches have not rang their bells for several years now.
The city of Deir Ezzor was home to more than 1450 Christians, most of whom were Armenians. After the revolution became militarized, the majority of them left to safer areas such as Damascus, Lebanon and Europe. Christians in Deir Ezzor were forced to leave the city of Deir Ezzor due to three reasons, first, the barbaric airstrikes on residential building by Assad’s forces. The increase of the military operations inside the city and the emergence of radical Islamist groups, which were a serious source of concern for them.
The Nusra Front blew up a number of churches in Deir Ezzor, including the Yohana Baka Church in the city of Al-Bukamal, and the Kbushine church in the city of Deir Ezzor. After Daesh took control over the province in 2014, they destroyed the Armenian Martyrs Church in Deir Ezzor, which is a historical landmark in the eastern region. In addition, the organization confiscated properties of Christian families.
Maria, a Christian activist from Deir Ezzor, told D24 that, “after Daesh gained control over the province in mid-2014, only two Christian families remained in the province. One family was living in the Mayadin city and the second in the city of Deir Ezzor”
She added, “ the organization gave those two families three choices.
They should become Muslims
If not, they should pay a tax known as Jizya
Or leave the organization-controlled areas.”
Families of Deir Ezzor are aware of the fact that they have lost a main part of their city ( the Christians), who were part of the history and culture of Deir Ezzor. Activists see it impossible that those displaced Christians would return to their homes amid the barbaric airstrikes by the Assad regime and dominance of extremists over their lands.