International Christian Concern | June 8, 2020
According to research published by the Washington Institute, the Syrian province of Deir al-Zour has experienced 638 ISIS attacks since March 2019. This was the highest number out of the 8 provinces reported on by the Institute. Deir al-Zour is a historically dense Christian area, particularly with Assyrians and Armenians, although the demographics have suffered greatly as a result of the Syrian conflict and ISIS genocide.
The Institute’s research asks the question of why ISIS attacks have focused so heavily on Deir al-Zour within the past 14 months. One possibility is that ISIS’s main adversary, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are mostly from Hasaka. While they have a presence in Deir al-Zour, they do not have the “home advantage.” This is a security problem further exacerbated by Turkey’s October invasion into northern Syria, as well as the partial US military withdrawal from this area.
Although these attacks are not specifically targeting Christians, they have affected a large Christian community. Syria remains embroiled in conflict and until some sort of peaceful resolution is achieved, the country’s minorities will always be the first to suffer.