Timeline of Brutality

A Brief History of the Assyrians in Iraq since 1900

1828 Treaty of Turkmanchai concludes Perso-Russian War. Whole Assyrian villages move north into Russian territory.
1834 American Rev. Justin Perkins arrives in Urmia to begin work among Assyrians.
1842 Archbishop of Canterbury's mission to the Church of the East in Hakkari.
1847 Bedir Khan's Kurdish troops massacre Assyrians in Hakkari, especially the Tiyari.
1849 First newspaper in Iran, the Assyrian language Zahrira d’Bahra.
June 1895 Massacre of Assyrians in Ottoman (Turkish) towns and villages.
1898 Russian mission arrives in Urmia, Iran.
12 April 1903 Mar Benyamin Shimmun is consecrated as the 117th Patriarch of the Church of the East.
1908 The Ottoman government declares Turkish as the only language allowed in schools.
1909 Germans and British officials discuss control of the Baghdad Railroad.
1911 Russian troops enter northwest Iran.
1914 British forces in Basra move to protect oil pipelines in Iran from Ottoman/German capture.
June 1914 World War I begins.
30 October 1914 Bashkala massacre of 50 Gawarnai Assyrians by Muslim mob.
4 November 1914 Fatwa for Jihad declared in Istanbul against Christians.
March 1915 Turks arrest Mar Shimmun’s brother, Hormiz, who was then murdered.
April 1915 Year of the Sword/Sypa/Sayfo. Order from the Committee on Union and Progress to rid eastern Turkey of Christians. Ottoman Assyrians flee to Russia,Iran, Aleppo and Jerusalem in wake of the genocide. Local Muslims attack and kill Bishop Mar Dinkha and 60 men in Golpashan. 700,000 Assyrians, 1.5 Million Armenians, & 300,000 Pontic Greeks perish between 1915 and 1919.
1916 The Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain, France, and Russia to divide Ottoman Empire after WWI. Hussain is proclaimed king of Arabs.
1917 Russian revolution leads to dissolution of Russian military in Iran.
1918 Enver Pasha's troops enter Iran as all Assyrians join to defend themselves. Combined local Muslim & Turkish troops capture Urmia.
16 March 1918 Kurdish chief, Simko, assassinates Mar Benyamin Shimmun in Salamas, Iran. Pillage of Assyrian villages in Iran and attempt to cleanse area of Christians begins. British truck fleeing Assyrians to refugee camps.
15 April 1918 Mar Polous Shimmun is consecrated as the 118th Patriarch of the Church of the East in Urmia, Iran.
October 1918 Ottoman Empire disintegrates.
1919 Treaty of Sevres to end WWI between Allies and Turkey. League of Nations is formed. British use Assyrian refugees to enforce occupation of Mesopotamia. Assyrians denied representation at Paris Peace Conference due to British. Under French protection, the Assyrian Protectorate in Jazirah (Khabour area of Syria) forms under Malik Kambar d-Malik Warda of Jelu.
1920 Mar Polous Shimmun passes away in the Bakuba refugee camp in Iraq.
10 June 1920 Treaty of Sevres is signed by Turkey. Provides for Kurds, Arabs, Armenians but not Assyrians. Formation of Mesopotamia as British mandate. Assyrians return to Hakkari but accept draft into British Levies to guard Mosul from Turks on promise of homeland.
20 June 1920
Mar Shimmun Ishaya, 13, is consecrated as the 119th Patriarch of the Church of the East.
24 July 1920
French forces occupy Damascus. The French Mandate over Syria begins.
10 August 1920 Treaty of Sevres: France receives Syrian Mandate & Britain receives Palestine Mandate.
1921 Patriarchal family with British refuse French-backed offer to move Assyrians to Jazira, Syria. British use Assyrian Levies to guard Kirkuk oil fields. Kurdish Iraqi revolt under Sheikh Mahmud.
27 August 1921 The British install Faisal as king of Iraq.
1923 Mesopotamia officially becomes "Iraq". Treaty of Lausanne leaves Mosul issue for League of Nations to settle.
1924 League of Nations assigns most of oil rich Mosul velayat to Iraq.
1925 Kurdish uprising against Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The constitution of 1925 guarantees all minorities in Iraq equality before the law, including civil and political rights, and rights to practice their language and religion.
1926 Turkey agrees to Mosul award after initial protest.
1927 British agree to Iraq membership in League of Nations in 5 years (1932).
1932 Assyrian Levies resign en masse as homeland is denied Patriarch at Geneva to state Assyrian case before the Permanent Mandates Commission. Baghdad does not allow him to return. Iraq admitted into the League of Nations on condition of guarantees for the protection of minorities.
30 May 1932 Iraq is declared a kingdom.
3 October 1932 Iraq is admitted to the League of Nations.
20 June 1933 Iraqi government expels Mar Shimmun Ishaya to Cyprus.
4-11 August 1933 The Massacre at Simel: General Bakr Sidqi, against the wishes of Faisal, massacres over 3,000 Assyrians in North Iraq.
8 September 1933 King Faisal dies. His son Ghazi supports army’s action against Assyrians.
1935 League of Nations decides to settle Assyrians in Ghab region of Syria.
11 August 1937 Bakr Sidqi is assassinated by army officers.
1939 World War II begins.
1940 At start of WWII Britain musters able bodied Assyrians into Levies.
Habbaniya Assyrians give Allies first victory in WWII.
June 1941 180 Jews, including women and children, are massacred in Baghdad.
1942 Assyrian area of Jazira incorporated into Syria.
7 May 1945 Mar Shimmun Ishaya presents “The Assyrian National Petition” at the World Security Conference in San Francisco.
1946 Patriarch protests to United Nations the lack of protection in Iran. 70 Assyrian villages pillaged in Iraq.
1955 The Assyrian Levy troops in Iraq are dismantled and released from duty unconditionally. Only a very few pro-Iraqi government Assyrians are given the opportunity to transfer to the Iraqi army.
1957 The Assyrian Democratic Organization (Takasta) is founded in Syria.
1958 Republic replaces Iraqi monarchy. Renewed promise of minority rights for Assyrians.
1 July 1958 “Free Officers” overthrow the monarchy in a coup. Brigadier Qassem takes control as prime minister and commander in chief.
24 July 1958 Michel Aflaq, a Christian thinker and founder of the Baath Party, arrives in Baghdad from Syria.
September 1961 The Iraqi army launches attacks against the Kurds and Assyrians in the north.
1963 First Baathist military coup.
8 February 1963 Baathists overthrow Qassim and the first Baathist regime is installed. Aref becomes president.
1964 The Iraqi government favors the breakup of the Church of the East. The “Ancient” Church of the East is headed by a new patriarch installed in Baghdad.
June 1967 The Six-Day War.
1967 The Assyrian Universal Alliance is founded in Tehran, Iran.
10 April 1968 The first congress of the AUA held in Pau, France.
17 July 1968 Aref’s regime is defeated and a new Baathist regime takes control under al-Bakr. Saddam Hussein becomes deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council.
1970 Depopulation, deportation, and arabization of Assyrians. Mar Shimmun Ishaya, Patriarch of the church of the East, is invited to Baghdad in move to recruit Assyrians against Kurds.
11 March 1970 Fighting between the Iraqi army and the Kurds stops after a Manifesto on Kurdish Autonomy is published. A new constitution recognizes the cultural rights of the Christians minorities in Iraq. No political rights are recognized.
24 April 1970 Mar Shimmun Ishaya visits the Iraqi president in Baghdad.
1972 Assyrians petition for autonomous region in Dohuk (Nohadra) Province when Baghdad grants Kurds option of autonomy in Arbil and Sulaimaniya.
16 April 1972 Baghdad offers "Syriac speaking" not "Assyrians" limited cultural rights. Decree #251 grants the “Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syrian” groups the right to teach their own language at school provided that 25 percent of the children in a class are Christian.
March 1974 All-out war between the Iraqi army and the Kurds in the North begins. The Shah of Iran begins support of the Kurdish insurgents.
1974 The Baath regime nationalizes all schools in Iraq, including the Catholic schools. Priests and nuns are forced to swear the oath of allegiance to the regime.
1974 The Bet Nahrain organization is established in California.
6 March 1975 The Algiers Agreement: Iraq accepts Iran’s territorial demands and in return Iran stops his support for the Kurds. The Kurdish resistance fails as the lines of supply are cut off.
6 November 1975 Mar Shimmun, Patriarch of the Church of the East, is assassinated in San Jose, California.
17 October 1976 Mar Dinkha IV is consecrated as the 120th Patriarch of the Church of the East in London.
1976-77 Over 200 Assyrian villages are razed in northern Iraq by government.
1977 "Assyrian" omitted from the Iraqi census.
1978 Special secret instructions issued to prevent departure of Assyrians.
19 October 1978 Iraqi government orders the imprisonment of the Assyrian singers and songwriters. This continues until 10 November 1978. The artists were beaten and tortured while in prison. Among these were Mr. David Easha, Mr. Sammy Yaqu, and Mr. Albert Oscar.
1979 Churches destroyed deliberately to remove Assyrian heritage. In an attempt to divide Assyrians, Baghdad disperses millions to churches.
16 January 1979 The Shah leaves Iran.
February 1979 The Islamic Revolution ends the Pahlavi Dynasty in Iran.
12 April 1979 The Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) is founded in Iraq.
June 1979 Saddam Hussein becomes president of Iraq. Al-Bakr is placed under house arrest.
August 1979 Up to 500 top Baathi officials are executed.
22 September 1980
Saddam Hussein launches war against Iran.
1981 The Iraqi government adopts measures to nationalize the properties of the Christian churches and convert the priests into state employees. The government eventually backs down. Deterioration of Assyrian schools, church and culture.
1982 Iran-Iraq war sees many Assyrian men drafted and dead in front lines.
The National Assembly (Iraqi Parliament) includes only 4 Christians among 250 members.
Late 1984 Dozens of Assyrian nationalists and members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) are imprisoned and tortured by the Iraqi authorities.
1985 Members of Assyrian political parties are hunted, executed, or disappear.
3 February 1985 Three members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement are hanged in Baghdad without trial: Yousip Toma Hermis, Youbert Benyamin Shlimon & Youkhana Esho Jajo. Sixteen other ADM members have been murdered since.
April 1987 Iraqi troops burn and bulldoze homes in the Assyrian village of Bakhtoma.
August 1988 The Iran-Iraq War ends. Government’s official death toll of the Assyrians from the Iraqi side: 4,250. Assyrian count: 44,000.
24 September 1988 Iraqi troops commence the Anfal Campaign against the Assyrian and Kurdish populations in North Iraq. Some 250 Christians disappeared during Anfal and its immediate aftermath.
1988-89 Archeological excavations unearth tombs of royal Assyrian women and gold objects 1991 Gulf War to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi invasion. In Northern No-Fly Zone, Kurds implement policies to displace Assyrian villagers. 52 Assyrian villages seized by Kurds. Kurds begin to identify Assyrians as "Christian Kurds".
1990 The Iraqi government survey indicates that 20 percent of the teachers in schools and universities are Christian.
August 1990 Iraqi forces attack Kuwait. The United Nations call for Iraq to withdraw.
17 January 1991 Persian Gulf War I: A U.S.-led coalition of 39 countries begins bombing of Iraq.
1991 During the rebellion in Basra the Christian quarters are attacked. Baathi government begins massive deportation of Arabs to the Kurdish-controlled areas, particularly the oil city of Kirkuk. North Iraq becomes a de facto autonomous zone under United Nations protection. Assyrian schools and media are established and the villages are reconstructed.
6 April 1991
Iraq agrees to a formal cease-fire.
1992 Elections held for Parliament of North Iraq but warlordism prevails.
1992 A group of Assyrian intellectuals warn about the “Kurdification” of the other ethnic minorities in North Iraq. In Dohuk, Nachir Barazani – a KDP leader – confiscates a great number of fertile Assyrian lands by intimidation and terrorizing the land-owners.
May 1992 Mr. Francis Yusuf Shabo, a Chaldean-Assyrian, and four other Assyrians are elected to the 105-member Kurdish parliament in North Iraq.
1993 Policy of intimidation of Assyrians in North Iraq. Islamic Movement of Kurdistan assassination squad targets Assyrians. Abduction of Assyrian girls by Kurds becomes part of terrorizing policy.
31 May 1993 Mr. Francis Shabo is gunned down at his home in Dohuk (Nohadra). No suspects have since been apprehended.
14 June 1993 Mr. Lazar Mikho (Abu Nasir), an Assyrian from Mangesh and a member of the ICP Central Committee and Iraqi Kurdistan Front’s Finance Committee is shot by armed assailants at his home in Dohuk (Nohadra). No substantial investigation has been carried out to date.
1994 Common Christological Declaration between the Church of the East and the Roman Catholic Church.
February 1995 Amnesty International lists sixteen Assyrian victims of political assassinations in northern Iraq.
6 March 1995 Mr. Edward Khoshaba of Aqla is tied up by Kurdish attackers and butchered into several pieces. None of his murderers have been brought to justice.
July 1995 Growth of Islamic extremists and terrorizing of Assyrians.
1996 Attempt to Kurdify school curricula in northern Iraq harms Assyrians. Violence against Christian religious structures increases.
January 1996 The Shrine of Mar Sbar Odisho in the courtyard of Mar Gewargis is desecrated in Dohuk.
13 January 1996 Wasan Mishael, a 16-year-old Assyrian girl, is kidnapped at gun-point from her home. She is forced to denounce her religion and marry one of her kidnappers.
20 January 1996 Janet Oshana, a 13-year-old Assyrian from the village of Mulla-Urab near Zakho by the Kurdish man named Khorshid Othman Kalash. The young girl has yet not been returned to the custody of her parents.
28 September 1996 Armed PKK members abduct 15-year old Ahlam Patrus Nissan from her village. The Assyrian girl was carried off and never allowed to speak to anyone afterwards. As with other kidnapping incidences, Ahlam was forced to convert to Islam and marry her kidnapper.
October 1996 Six Assyrians from Baghdad, employed at the Presidential Palace of Saddam Hussein, are arrested on suspicion of attempt to poison Saddam Hussein. They are: Gewargis Hormiz Oraha, Yousip Adam, Khamo Amira, Kora Odisho, Shimon Khoshaba al-Hozi, Petros Elia Toma, and William Matti Barkho.
1997 In Baghdad Assyrians are targeted for rape, abduction and murder. Violence against Assyrians in North & Baghdad goes unpunished.
10 February 1997 Mr. Lazar Matti and his son, Mr. Havel Lazar are dragged out of prison by a vigilante group of 200 armed Kurds and brutally killed in Shaqlawa. Mr. Mati’s daughter was forcibly kidnapped by a Kurd named Mohammad Babakir. The Kurdish kidnapper was found dead a day before the killing of Mr. Matti and his son. A Kurdish mullah had demanded the savage killing of the “Christian” and the burning of his home. The killing was later condemned by the Kurdistan Democratic Party leader, Massoud Barazani.
23 February 1997 The KDP announces that Mr. Francis Hariri survived an assassination attempt during his trip to the provincial headquarters in Arbil. Mr. Francis Hariri is an Assyrian from northern Iraq and the governor of the province of Abril. Two of his bodyguards as well as five civilian bystanders were reportedly wounded. The KDP accuses Mr. Kosrat Rasool, allegedly a PUK political officer.
March 1997 Amnesty International writes to the Iraqi government seeking the whereabouts of 6 Assyrians arrested in October 1996.
12 April 1997 Yousif John Yacoub, 35, is brutally stabbed to death in his home in Baghdad, Iraq. Mr. Yacoub’s neighbors witness the attack and notify the police, who arrive prior to Mr. Yacoub’s death. The police keep Mr. Yacoub in his home for questioning while he bleeds until his death. Mr. Yacoub’s relatives hear about the incident one day later and arrive at his home only to find out that the police has ransacked the place and removed valuables or evidence. Two weeks later, Mr. Ammed Shurta, a high ranking police officer and member of the ruling Ba’ath party, along with his wife and children, occupy Mr. Yacoub’s house.
23 May 1997 Kamal Kiriakos Ablahad, an Assyrian employed at the residence of Jamal Al-Tikriti, the son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, is shot. Mr. Ablahad’s kidneys are removed for organ transplantation in the hospital. The medical examiner’s report declares the death a suicide.
June 1997 Uday, the son of Saddam Hussein, shoots and kills Asil Salman Mansour. The Assyrian girl is last seen walking home when she was stopped by a “presidential” vehicle and was forced into the vehicle by Uday’s bodyguards. Ms. Mansour was taken to the Presidential Complex at Al Jadiriya where Uday tries to have sex with the girl but fails. In a subsequent fit of rage, he shoots and kills the girl.
27 July 1997 A sixty-two-year old Assyrian member of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Polus Younan, is stabbed to death in his house by three armed men who demand information regarding the family’s money and savings. His wife, Medina Shinoel, survives the attack and reports her account to the police. The attackers strike Ms. Shinoel with the butt end of their rifles until most of her teeth are broken. Then they slash Ms. Shinoel’s 16-year-old son, deaf and mute Mattai, until he begins to slowly lose consciousness.
13 December 1997 Fighters from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) ambush seven unarmed Assyrian civilians from Mangesh, Duhok. Those killed include Slewo Khoshaba, Samir Esho, Majid Shimon, Akhran Hermiz, Salem Yousif, Najid Mikho, Wardia Yousif.
February 1998 Two members of the Assyrian community, Lazar Mati and his son Havel Lazar, are deliberately killed by a group of armed men, who storm the KDP-controlled Asayish Prison in Shaqlawa where the two men had been detained. No investigation is known to have been carried out into the killings.
December 1998 An explosion targets an Assyrian convent in the Al Mal’ab district of Arbil.
9 December 1998 Mrs. Nasreen Hana Shaba, born in 1963, and her young daughter Larsa born in 1995 are killed when a bomb explodes in their home. The bomb is planted by unknown assailants in the home of Mr. Najat Toma, located in the district of Terawa in Arbil. No one claims responsibility for this act of terrorism against the Assyrian community of northern Iraq.
6 January 1999 A bomb is planted at the front doorsteps of Fr. Zomaya Yousip in the 7th of Nisan area of Arbil. No casualties are reported but the home sustains extensive damage.
June 1999 The body of Ms. Helena Aloun Sawa, a 21- year old Assyrian woman from the village of Bash in the Nerwa of Rakan region of Dohuk province, is found by a shepherd. The decomposed body is partially exposed and appears to have been partially eaten by scavenging wild animals. Ms. Sawa is the daughter of Mr. Aloun Sawa, an Assyrian member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), who had been killed in 1991 by Iraqi government forces and was recognized by the KDP as a martyr. Helena Sawa worked as a housekeeper for a senior KDP leader. She disappeared on May 5, 1999 and her body was found more than four weeks later.
15 July 1999 Three Assyrian political parties declare joint statement of unity: Assyrian Democratic Movement, Assyrian Democratic Organization, and the Assyrian Universal Alliance.
25 November 1999 In a warning published in the Kurdistan Observer, the Iraqi Minister of Education threatens to punish those Assyrians who establish and attend the Assyrian language schools established in northern Iraq following the Gulf War.
15 December 1999 Mr. Habib Yousif Dekhola, a 16-old Assyrian man of the Chaldean Church and a lifelong resident of Ankawa, is assassinated in Arbil.
August 2000 The Iraqi Directorate General of Intelligence summons several Assyrians including intellectuals, clerics, and activists, for interrogation in Mosul and Baghdad. Security agents interrogates the Assyrians regarding Bet Nahrain Magazine, a California based Assyrian cultural journal.
18 February 2001 The Assyrian governor of the northern Iraqi province of Arbil, Mr. Franso Hariri is assassinated in Arbil.
2001 Continued imprisonment, torture, and murders of Assyrian landowners in KDP area. Murder of Chaldean priest in Baghdad.
17 May 2001 Behdanani villagers and security forces from Ozman and Naveshga surround and attack the Assyrian village of Koso. There are reports of severe beatings requiring hospitalization.
2002 Beheading of Sister Cecelia, Chaldean nun, in Baghdad. "Accidental" auto death of retired Bishop and nun. Threatening leaflets into Christian homes in Baghdad. Assyrian representative accepted into future of Iraq planning after much pressure from Diaspora.
April 2002 The Oil Company of the North in the city of Kirkuk forbids its Assyrian employees the use of the Assyrian language and requires the use of Arabic. Officials in the company threaten to fire, or reassign those who refuse.
15 August 2002 Seventy-one-year old Sister Cecilia Moshi Hanna is brutally attacked by three armed assailants and repeatedly stabbed to death in her room in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Monastery in Baghdad, Iraq. Sr. Cecilia Moshi Hanna was a member of the Order of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and had devoted her life to ministering to the poor and ill.
18 September 2002 The Assyrian Democratic Movement joins the Iraqi Opposition Groups in New York.
9 December 2002 The Assyrian Democratic Movement becomes eligible to receive assistance under the Presidential Determination No. 2003-05.
16 December 2002 All major Assyrian political parties in a show of unity meet at the London Conference of the Iraqi Opposition Groups. Mr. Yonadam Kanna of ADM and Mr. Albert Yelda are selected as the Assyrian delegates in the 65-member Followup Committee to meet in January 2003.
2003 Massoud Barazani's Kurdistan Democratic Party creates a puppet Chaldean party to split Assyrians.
26 February 2003 The Follow-up & Coordination Committee meets in Salahadin, North Iraq. Members oppose a U.S.-led military government after Saddam.
18 March 2003 Ankara Declaration: The ADM & 7 other Iraqi Opposition Groups meet in Ankara, Turkey and agree to put their forces under a U.S.-led command in the event of war with Iraq.
19 March 2003 Persian Gulf War II: A U.S. & U.K. led coalition of 35 countries begins bombing of Iraq.
9 April 2003 Baghdad falls. U.S. Administration declared end of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
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