The Assyrian Genocide

History of War - War in The Middle East




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The Assyrian Genocide is remembered as the mass killings of the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac people of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. The Assyrian population of northern Mesopotamia was forced to relocate and killed by Ottoman and troops between 1914 and 1920. Reports have placed the figure at 270,000. With more recent estimates that figure to be more between 500,000 and 750,000.

The Assyrian genocide occurred in the same circumstances as the Armenian and Pontic Greek genocides. With close to three million Christians of Syriac, Armenian or Greek Orthodox being slaughtered by the Young Turks. The "Assyrian genocide" occurred within the circumstances of the much more widespread Armenian genocide.

The International Association of Genocide Scholars in 2007 reached a common understanding that the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks. The President of the Genocide Watch encouraged the denial by the world's leading genocide scholars of the Turkish government's ninety-year denial of the Ottoman Empire's genocides against its Christian people, including Assyrians, Greeks, and Armenians.


The Assyrian people in the Ottoman Empire amounted to about one million at the turn of the twentieth century and was majorly concentrated in what is now Iran, Iraq and Turkey. There were predominately large communities located in the lands near Lake Urmia in Persia, Lake Van and Mesopotamia, as well as the eastern Ottoman provinces of Diyarbekir, Erzerum and Bitlis. Like other Christians living in the empire, they were treated as second-class citizens and declined public positions of authority.

Violence directed against them before the First World War was not a shock. A large number of Assyrians were administered to Kurdish brigandage and even outright slaughter and forced conversion to Islam. The Ottoman Empire on October 29, 1914 announced war against the Allies, and it was important for the British to gain the assistance of the Assyrians. This occurred by allowing the persecuted Assyrians their own homeland.Britain wanted to make sure that the Mosul land would be part of the newly-colonized Iraq instead of the future state of Turkey.

The Assyrians made a promise for loyalty to the British in return for an independent state in the long run. After the invasion by the Young Turks of Mosul, the Assyrian army, commanded by General Agha Petros, fought fiercely and successfully against the Ottoman army and their Kurdish allies, and pushed them away out of Mosul and The Specific slaughters included to the amount of 25,000 Assyrians in Midyat, 21,000 in Jezira-ibn-Omar, 7,000 in Nisibis, 7,000 in Urfa, 7,000 in the Qudshanis region, 6,000 in Mardin, 5,000 in Diyarbekir, 4,000 in Adana, 4,000 in Brahimie, and 3,500 in Harput.

In the December 4, 1922, memorandum, the Assyro-Chaldean National Council accounted that the total death toll was unknown. It estimated that about 275,000 "Assyro-Chaldeans" died between 1914 and 1918. The population of the Assyrians of the Ottoman Empire was about one million before the genocide occurred and 100,000 to 250,000 there after.





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