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“Native Christians Massacred”:
The Ottoman Genocide of the Assyrians during World War I

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010 at 07:47 AM CT


“Native Christians Massacred”: The Ottoman Genocide of the Assyrians during World War I
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The Ottoman Empire’s widespread persecution of Assyrian civilians during World War I constituted a form of genocide, the present-day term for an attempt to destroy a national, ethnic, or religious group, in whole or in part. Ottoman soldiers and their Kurdish and Persian militia partners subjected hundreds of thousands of Assyrians to a deliberate and systematic campaign of massacre, torture, abduction, deportation, impoverishment, and cultural and ethnic destruction.  Established principles of international law outlawed this war of extermination against Ottoman Christian civilians before it was embarked upon, and ample evidence of genocidal intent has surfaced in the form of admissions by Ottoman officials. Nevertheless, the international community has been hesitant to recognize the Assyrian experience as a form of genocide.
The Assyrian genocide is indistinguishable in principle from its Armenian counterpart, however, and its recognition by scholars and the international community may assist in the resettlement and relief of the Assyrian remnant, currently fleeing by the thousands from its homelands in Iraq.


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