(CNSNews.com) – Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan released a joint statement Friday, welcoming “the decision of certain countries to recognize these terrorist acts as a genocide” but denouncing “the absence of serious actions from the part of the international community and the Iraqi government to step up the liberation of Mosul and the villages of the Nineveh Plain from the terrorist groups.”
The statement marked the second anniversary of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) capture of Mosul. The patriarchs called for the “immediate liberation of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain and the return of our sons and daughters to their land and homes.”
Secretary of State John Kerry declared in March that ISIS was committing genocide against Yazidis, Christians, and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria. Congress also unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the genocide.
The Patriarchs noted that two years have passed “since the uprooting of our Syriac people from the land of our ancestors in Mosul and the Nineveh Plain, following the criminal act which amounts to an ethno-religious genocide, committed by ISIS and other terrorist groups which consider infidels all those who do not share their religion or believe in their confessional doctrines.”
“Today, two years after the calamity that was brought upon our people, the decision-making countries and the international community remain silent and inactive towards the ethnic cleansing of a historical people who founded the civilizations of the area,” they wrote.
“We are the descendant of the martyrs who defended their faith, land and honor. They witnessed to the point of shedding their blood for its sake,” they emphasized.
“We welcome the decision of certain countries to recognize these terrorist acts as a genocide against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities,” they continued, “however, we strongly denounce the absence of serious actions from the part of the international community and the Iraqi government to step up the liberation of Mosul and the villages of the Nineveh Plain from the terrorist groups.”
The patriarchs noted the destruction of “churches and monasteries, particularly the monastery of St. Behnam and Sarah where the tomb of the saint was bombed.”
“They stole the properties and possessions of our people,” they added, “spreading the darkness of death, destruction and moral degradation.”
“We thank the Government of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq for their efforts to offer the basic services in these difficult times,” they added. “We, likewise affirm our demand for the immediate liberation of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain and the return of our sons and daughters to their land and homes.
“They should enjoy security and stability as well as living conditions that ensure their dignity and help them restore their trust in their country and their hope in a bright future,” the patriarchs concluded.