Suicide attack kills several at Syrian memorial for Christian massacre

Source: France 24

June 19, 2016

Three people were killed
in northeast Syria on Sunday when a suicide bomber
attacked an event commemorating the massacre of Christians
more than a century ago, state media and a security source

The attack in the city of Qamishli took place as locals
gathered at a hall to commemorate the deaths of tens of
thousands of Christians by the Ottoman army starting in
1915 in what is known as the Sayfo (“Sword”)

A photographer working with AFP and attending the event
said he heard the blast and saw pieces of flesh lying next
to damaged cars.

“The suicide attacker tried to enter the hall where
people were gathered but was stopped by local security
forces, and he detonated himself among them,” a
security source at the scene told AFP.

The security forces belonged to the Sotoro, a Christian
militia based in Syria’s northeast.

“Three Sotoro members were killed and five
wounded,” the security source said.

One Sotoro member told AFP that the suicide bomber
“detonated himself near our checkpoint after he
couldn’t reach his real target, Patriarch

Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II is the head of the Syriac
Orthodox church and was leading the commemoration.

Syria’s state news agency SANA also reported three
people killed in a “terrorist suicide explosion”
in Qamishli but did not specify whether they were
civilians or security forces.

Situated along the border with Turkey, Qamishli has been
regularly targeted by suicide bombings, many of which have
been claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.

Control of the Kurdish-majority city is split between
Kurdish militia and pro-government fighters.

Syriac Christians belong to the eastern Christian
tradition and pray in Aramaic. They include both Orthodox
and Catholic branches, and constitute around 15 percent of
Syria’s 1.2 million Christians.

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