A delegation from Sudan is on a visit to North and East Syria
2021-12-21
Public Statement
2022-01-25

yesterday, Sunday, January 9, 2022, Nadine Maenza, president of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), visited the headquarters of the Department of Foreign Relations in Qamishli as part of her tour in the regions of North and East Syria (NES) to meet with officials of the Autonomous Administration and attend a conference on religious freedom in NES.

She was received by the co-chair of the Department of Foreign Relations, Abdul Karim Omar, the two deputy co-chairs, Abeer Elia and Fanar Al-Kait, and the member of the administrative body Nafia Muhammad.

At first, Menza expressed happiness of her fourth visit to the region and said, “In our previous visits, we saw the rule of tolerance established by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) between all citizens of different religions. It was very unfortunate for me to hear the news ab

out what civilians were subjected to in the city of Kobani, Turkey claims It is fighting terrorism, but the world must know the truth of what is going on here and we hope that the US and the international community will condemn Turkey.”

For her part, the deputy co-chair in the department, Abeer Elia, spoke about the marginalization of Christians during the years of Baath rule in Syria and their stripping of some rights, such as running for the presidency in the Syrian constitution. She added, “The Autonomous Administration is working hard to protect all communities and to show the reality of violations and ethnic cleansing that occurred in the occupied areas against minorities”.

During the joint press conference that was held between the co-chair of the department, Abdul Karim Omar, and Nadine Maenza, the president of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Omar confirmed that there was a convergence of views between the two parties and said, “I would like to thank the president of (USCIRF) for the great role she played in supporting the AANES and conveying the reality of the situation in NES as well as the reality of the Turkish occupation and its violations against religious minorities in the occupied territories.”

 

For her part, Maenza said, “It is wonderful to return to Syria, and it is difficult to see all these challenges that you are facing. I heard about the efforts made by AANES, and it was amazing when I saw it myself here and how the rights of all religions and ethnic minorities are protected.”

 

She added, “In the report that was prepared by our Commission, we mentioned that Turkey occupies the region and carries out many violations against ethnic and religious minorities in the areas it occupies, and horrific crimes against the Kurds, Yazidis, Christians, and especially women, and we know that all the rights of religious minorities are protected under the umbrella of the administration.” We know that Turkey aims, through its attacks, to destabilize and control more regions, and we believe that the US and the international community should pressure Turkey to stop these actions, and we also recommended that the AANES be supported politically, and recognize the AANES as a local and regional government that leads this region. We also recommended lifting the sanctions on the people and imposing them only on the Syrian regime, and including the AANES in the political process and all political dialogues related to the crisis.”