September 12, 2019

At Least 124 Churches Destroyed in Syria Since 2011, Only 10 Were by ISIS

At least 124 churches have been partially or completely destroyed as a result of the wars and violent conflicts in Syria since 2011, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).

75 of these were at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, 10 at the hands of ISIS, while Hay’at Tahrir al Sham was responsible for another two attacks. According to the report, 33 attacks occurred at the hands of factions of the Armed Opposition, and four others at the hands of other parties. Six were attacked by various parties.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) stated in its report that the Syrian regime bears primary responsibility for 61 percent of the targeting of Christian places of worship in Syria.

Reportedly, there were some planned attacks on churches, since the terrorists used bulldozers in order to destroy the churches and monasteries.

ISIS fighters are responsible for ten attacks on Christian places of worship, five of which were committed in Raqqa, the city that the terrorists called “headquarters”.

According to the report, the record of attacks against Christian places of worship includes the conversion of 11 places of worship into military or administrative headquarters by the main parties to the conflict, six of which at the hands of Syrian Regime forces, while two at the hands of ISIS and faction of the Armed Opposition each, and one at the hands of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham.

The report adds that the weapons possessed by the Syrian regime, including missiles and barrel bombs, have caused the greatest damage to buildings and contents compared to those of other parties, with the regime followed by ISIS in terms of the scale of damage. Despite the large number of attacks carried out by factions of the Armed Opposition, the damage resulting from their bombing was minor compared to that inflicted by the Syrian regime and ISIS.

According to the report, intentional attacks on places of worship constitute war crimes, and repeating such attacks on the same place of worship is a strong indicator of deliberation in regard to these attacks and of a desire to destroy a place of worship. Also, some of the incidents of bombing have inflicted collateral damage that involved loss of civilian lives or injuries. There are strong indicators suggesting that this damage was excessive compared to the anticipated military benefit.