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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1621


Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (13:54): On too many occasions over my last 10 years in this House, I have had to rise to report atrocities against the Assyrian people in the Middle East. Again, I have to say that the situation has worsened, not gotten better. The people of Assyrian background have been great suffers since the fall of Husseinmore than 10 years ago. Just in the recent weeks, on 23 February, 35 Assyrian villages stretching over 80 kilometres west from Al-Hasakah Province to Ra's al-'Ayn on the Khabur River in north-east Syria have been attacked. Daesh attacks Assyrians in Syria and Iraq. Of course, we do not know exactly how many people have been killed. We do know that at least 15 Assyrian guards were killed defending their villages. Up to 373 Assyrians, mainly women and children, were captured by Daesh. We can only shudder at their likely fate.

Daesh is engaging on a program of killing the Assyrian ancient and noble culture, taking artefacts and destroying them. Already, 118 churches in Iraq and six in Syria have been burnt down, and ancient manuscripts of the ancient churches have been destroyed by Daesh. When Daesh is eventually defeated, the world must ensure that that opportunity is taken to ensure a protected homeland for the Assyrian people. This great and ancient civilisation, and the many thousands of Assyrians around the world, deserve nothing less.