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1933: The Assyrians of Khabur, Syria

Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2000 at 05:15 PM CT


Following the tragic events of 1933, many Assyrians moved to French-controlled Syria to settle in the Khabur region, and chief among them were upper Tiari and Tkhuma tribes. They were soon followed by other Assyrians so that, by the time it was over, some (35) villages were established on both banks of the Khabur river between Hassaka and Qamishli. Of these, (25) villages were on the north side and (10) on the south side. The Assyrian settlement was about (29) kilometers stretching from Tal Hermiz in the east to Tal Taweel in the west. The width of the area ranged from (2.5 - 3.0) kilometers on each side of the river. There was a bridge at Tal Tammar and a smaller bridge on Zargan river, a tributary of Khabur near Tal Tammar. The last town was about a distance of (7) kilometers to Tal Taweel. Upper Tiari tribesmen occupied (6) villages (by some accounts 8 villages), while Tkhuma established (11) villages, but the Tiari villages were bigger. Each of the following had (2) villages: Quchanis, Gawar, Baz, Jeelu, Dizen, Sara; and the following lived only in (1) village: Timar, Lewon, Barwar, Nawchiya, Eiel and Mar Bisho.

The nearest Arabian tribes in the area were Bagar Al Jabal. They lived in the Abd Al-Aziz mountains in the south of Khabur. Their cheifs were Sheikh Eisa Salman and Raqib Al-Basheer. To the north of the river lived the Sharabien and the Muamara tribes. The last one was under Sheikh Abd Al-Aziz Muslib. The main road in the area ran from Hassaka to Qamishli on the north side of the river, while a mountain road serviced the south side. In the northeast there is a water reservoir and just to the west of it is a farming airstrip.

Tal Tammar is the largest of the settlements, and it houses several hundreds families. It is the administrative center (Mudeer Al-Nahiya) and it houses the police headquarters as well. Two other police stations are located in the villages of Abu Tina and Tal Kharita. Tal Tammar was also the home of Malik Yaqu Ismail of upper Tiari and his brother Malik Daniel, both former Rab Tremmas (senior officers) of the Assyrian Levies. Malik Yaqu was to die in Baghdad while on official visit in 1974, and Malik Daniel was to die in Tal Tammar in 1952. Tal Hurmiz was the home of Malik Lawco of Tkhuma. He was to die in Chicago in 1977. Umm Keif was the home of Malik Marawgil of Timar. He died there later.

In the settlement, there was a church with a priest in every village, and until 1985 the affairs of the Assyrian church of the East were administrated by the late Bishop Mar Awraham Youkhanna. In February 1985, Bishop Mar Aprim Khamis of the United States visited the Khabur Assyrians, and while there he ordained Rev. Giwargis Athneiel as Archdeacon and head of the Church. Mar Aprim also appointed a committee to help the Archdeacon. He also ordained others. A son of Archdeacon Giwargis by the name of Aprim is studying in Chicago to prepare himself to be a future bishop for Khabur. The Diocese of Khabur is part of the Archdeacon of Lebanon and Syria under Metropolitan Mar Narsai DeBaz of Lebanon. In addition to the village churches there exists in Qamishli a church under Rev. Youkhanna Arkin, and in Hassaka the church is serviced by Rev. Kolo. In 1992 a bishop from the Ancient Church of the East (Julian Calendar) by the name of Mar Yacoub Daniel arrived in Khabur to run the affairs of that church in Syria. He was formaly a priest in the church of Mar Yousif in Tel Keif. Today Mar Yacoub administers the following churches: Mar Bithion at Tal Hurmiz, Mar Shalita in Umm Ghargan and Mar Aprim in Qamishli. In each of the Assyrian villages there is a mukhtar who acts as a village chief.

Below are the Assyrian villages with their corresponding tribes and church.
 

Village

Tribe

Church

Tal Taweel

Tiari

Mar Sawa

Umm Waghfa

Tiari

Mar Quryaqus

Umm Keiff

Timar

Mar Tooma

Tal Keifchi

Lewon

Mar Giwargis

Tal Jumma

Tiari

Brashmuni

Tal Ahmar

Tiari

Mar Youkhanna

Tal Tammar

Tiari

Mar Sargis

Tal Nasri

Tiari

Mart Maryam

Tal Hifyan

Quchanis

Mar Shalita

Tal Meghas

Gawar

Mar Giwargis

Tal Mesas

Barwar

Mar Giwargis

Tal Jedaya

Gawar

Mar Sawa

Tal Faitha

Nawchiya

Mar Quryaqus

Tal Damsheech

Quchanis

Mar Shalita

Tal Najma

Sara

Mar Sliwa

Tal Jazeera

Eiel

Mar Younan

Tal Baz

Baz

Mar Giwargis

Tal Rumman (upper)

Baz

Mart Maryam

Tal Rumman (lower)

Tkhuma

Raban Bithion

Tal Shameh

Tkhuma

Mar Zaia

Tal Wardiyat

Tkhuma

Raban Bithion

Tal Sakra

Tkhuma

Mart Maryam

Tal Barbeech

Tkhuma

Mar Giwargis

Tal Arboosh

Tkhuma

Mar Giwargis

Umm Ghargan

Tkhuma

Mar Shalita

Tal Shamiran

Mar Bisho

Mar Bisho

Tal Talla

Sara

Mar Sliwa

Abu Tina

Jeelu

Mar Shimun Sabai

Tal Quran

Jeelu

Mar Zaia

Qabr Shamiya

Dizen

Mar Shalita

Tal Ballouwa

Dizen

Mar Quryaqus

Tal Kharita

Tkhuma

Mar Shimun Sabai

Tal Makhatha

Tkhuma

Mar Quryaqus

Tal Taal

Tkhuma

Mar Odisho

Tal Hurmiz

Tkhuma

Raban Bithion




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