Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Wednesday, 3 August 2022
How this predominantly Christian Syrian town went from 12,000 to 1,000 :

Violence isn’t new to the Syrian town of Tal Tawil.


Located in northwestern Syria, about 50 miles from the Turkish border, the predominantly Christian town Tal Tawil has survived a decade of civil war. Over the years, residents have faced repeated attacks from Syrian forces, Kurdish nationalists, and ISIS fighters, among others. And since October 2019, Tal Tawil has stayed under fire by Turkish forces who have bombed the town and its surrounding areas almost daily.  


On May 28,  2022 another Turkish bombardment severely damaged the Mar Sawa Church in the town. Reportedly, parts of the walls were destroyed, pews were damaged, and the floor left cluttered with broken glass, and plaster. An Open Doors partner reports regular attacks by the (allies of) the Turkish forces. The church was hit by mortars and a rocket. 


The Mar Sawa bombing is indicative of the indiscriminate violence that has plagued the area for years. In 2015, the same church was attacked by ISIS fighters. A region where Christian community once thrived has seen its believers scattered. Over the past decade, the town and its surrounding countryside have seen the population decrease from 12,000 to a mere 1,000. Those who remain live in danger from further attacks. 


Today, the town is facing the threat of another Turkish invasion. Since 2016, Turkish President Erdogan has staged multiple occupations of Syrian territory.  


“People of the area hear about the threat of a Turkish invasion daily,” reports a local partner. “There is real fear that if this will happen, the whole Christian area will be in the so-called ‘safe zone’ of the Turkish armed forces. They feel this is a threat.” 


Pray for Tel Tawil


Let’s pray for those who remain in Tel Tawil. Pray that they would stay safe from any attacks and see an immediate end to violence. 


Praise God for the remnant of Christians who remain in the area. Pray their faith would not be shaken, that they would walk in the confidence of Christ and continue witnessing to their neighbors.