Assyrian people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Syriac Christians)
Jump to: navigation, search
Assyrian people
Sūrāyē / Sūryāyē / Āṯūrāyē / Āramayē
Jefrem Sirin.jpg
W.E.F. Britten - Alfred, Lord Tennyson - St. Simeon Stylites.jpg
Sevarios of Antioch.jpg
Hunayn ibn-Ishaq al-'Ibadi Isagoge.jpg
John sulaqa.gif
Maria Theresa Asmar.png
Michael Malke.jpg
Ashur Yousif.gif
Alphonse Mingana.jpg
Shimun Benyamin.jpg
Freydon Atoraya.jpg
Maggi George.jpg
Robert Miner.gif
Andre Agassi Indian Wells 2006.jpg
Terrence Malick.jpg
F Murray.Abraham cropped.jpg
Dr. Donny George crop.jpg
Rep Anna Eshoo.jpg
Rosie Malek-Yonan.jpg
Ibrahim Baylan 2009 04 19 B.jpg
Kennedy Bakircioglu, 2013-04-14.JPG
Josef Fares 2010.JPG
Dnepr-Olimpiakos (14).jpg
Senharib Malki.jpg
Fares Fares i De tre musketörerna 2009.jpg
Total population
3.3 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
Traditional areas of Assyrian settlement: 735,000-745,100
  Syria 400,000[2]
  Iraq 300,000[3]
  Iran 20,000[4][5]
  Turkey 15,000–25,100[4][6][7]
Diaspora: 496,467-970,605
  United States 110,807–400,000[8][9]
  Jordan 100,000–150,000[10][11]
  Sweden 100,000[12]
  Germany 100,000[13]
  Australia 24,505–60,000[14][15][16] More than two thirds of Iraqis in Australia (80,000) are Christians
  Lebanon 39,000[17]
  Netherlands 20,000[18]
  France 16,000[19]
  Belgium 15,000[18]
  Russia 10,911[20]
  Canada 10,810[21]
  Denmark 10,000[18]
   Switzerland 10,000[18]
  United Kingdom 6,390[22]
  Greece 6,000[23]
  Georgia 3,299[24]
  Ukraine 3,143[25]
  Italy 3,000[18]
  Armenia 2,769[26]
  New Zealand 1,683[27]
  Azerbaijan 1,500[28]
  Israel 1,000[29]
  Kazakhstan 350–800[30][31]
  Finland 300[32]
(Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Turoyo)
Syriac Christianity
(Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Assyrian Church of the East, Syriac Catholic Church, Ancient Church of the East, Assyrian Evangelical Church, Assyrian Pentecostal Church)
Some secular or irreligious
Related ethnic groups
Other Semitic people:
 • Mandaeans
 • Arabs (Iraqis  • Syrians  • Lebanese  • Palestinians)
 • Jews (Mizrahi Jews)

Assyrian people (Syriac: ܐܫܘܪܝܐ), also known as Chaldeans,[33] Syriacs,[34] and Arameans,[35] (see names of Syriac Christians) are a Semitic ethnoreligious group indigenous to the Middle East.[36][37] Most Assyrians speak a Neo-Aramaic language,[38] whose subdivisions include Northeastern, Central, and Western Neo-Aramaic, as well as another language, dependent on the country of residence.[39]

The Assyrians are a Christian people who follow various Eastern Churches that use East Syrian and West Syrian liturgical rites.[40] Churches that use the East Syrian rite include the Assyrian Church of the East, Ancient Church of the East, Assyrian Evangelical Church, Assyrian Pentecostal Church, and Chaldean Catholic Church, whose followers commonly speak Northeastern Neo-Aramaic whereas Churches that use the West Syrian rite include the Syriac Orthodox Church and Syriac Catholic Church and followers speak Central Neo-Aramaic.

The Assyrians are descended from one[41] of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating at 2500 BC, in ancient Mesopotamia, making them one of the oldest and longest surviving ethnic and cultural groups in Asia.[42] Today, the indigenous Assyrian homeland areas are part of today's northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran and northeastern Syria.[43][44] Many have migrated outside of the indigenous Assyrian homeland areas to other regions in the Caucasus, Levant, USA, Canada, Australia and Europe during the past century or so.[45] Emigration was triggered by such events as the Assyrian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, the Simele massacre in Iraq (1933), the Islamic revolution in Iran (1979), Arab Nationalist Baathist policies in Iraq and Syria, the Al-Anfal Campaign of Saddam Hussein,[46]

Most recently, the 2003 Iraq War and the Syrian Civil War that began in 2011 has displaced the regional Assyrian community, as its people have faced ethnic and religious persecution at the hands of Islamic extremists. Of the one million or more Iraqis reported by the United Nations to have fled Iraq since the occupation, nearly 40% are Assyrian, although Assyrians comprised around 3% of the pre-war Iraqi population.[47][48][49] According to a 2013 report by a Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council official, it is estimated that only 300,000 Assyrians remain in Iraq.[3]


A drawing of a typical ancient Assyrian man, 1400 BC

Pre-Christian history

In prehistoric times, the region that was to become known as Assyria (and Subartu) was home to a Neanderthal culture such as has been found at the Shanidar Cave. The earliest Neolithic sites in Assyria were the Jarmo culture c. 7100 BC and Tell Hassuna, the centre of the Hassuna culture, c. 6000 BC.

The history of the Assyrian people begins with the formation of Assyria circa 2500 BC, followed by rise of the Akkadian Empire during the 24th century BC, in the early bronze age period. Sargon of Akkad united all the native Akkadian-speaking Semites and the Sumerians of Mesopotamia (including the Assyrians) under his rule.

In Church tradition, they are descended from Abraham's grandson (Dedan son of Jokshan), progenitor of the ancient Assyrians.[50] However, there is no historical basis for the biblical assertion whatsoever; there is no mention in Assyrian records (which date as far back as the 24th century BC).

The Assyrian king list records kings dating from the 25th century BC onwards, the earliest being Tudiya, who was a contemporary of Ibrium of Ebla. However, many of these early kings would have been local rulers, and from the late 24th century BC to the early 22nd century BC, usually subject to the Akkadian Empire.

The Assyrian people, after the fall of their empire, fell under foreign domination ever since. The Persian empire was founded, which consumed the entire Neo-Babylonian or "Chaldean" Empire in 539 BC.[51] Assyrians became front line soldiers for the Persian empire under King Xerxes, playing a major role in the Battle of Marathon under King Darius I in 490 BC.[52]

The Assyrian army accounted for three legions of the Roman army, defending the Parthian border. In the 1st century, it was the Assyrian army that enabled Vespasian's coup. From the later 2nd century, the Roman senate included several notable Assyrians, including Claudius Pompeianus and Avidius Cassius. In the 3rd century, Assyrians even reached for imperial power, with the Severan dynasty.[51][51]

From the 1st century BC, Assyria was the theatre of the protracted Perso-Roman Wars. It would become a Roman province (Assyria Provincia) between 116 and 363 AD. Despite the influx of foreign elements, the presence of Assyrians is confirmed by the worship of god Ashur, all proof of the continuity of the Assyrians.[51] The Greeks, Parthians, and Romans had a rather low-level of integration with the local population in Mesopotamia, which allowed their cultures to survive.[53]

Early Christian period

Map of Assuristan (226 AD-637 AD).

The population of Asorestan was a mixed one, composed of Assyrians, Arameans (in the far south, and western deserts), and Persians. The Greek element in the cities, still strong in the Parthian period, was absorbed by the Semites in Sasanian times. The majority of the population were Assyrians, speaking Eastern Aramaic dialects.

The Assyrians were Christianized in the 1st to 3rd centuries in Roman Syria and Roman Assyria. At the dawn of Christianity the people living in Assyria were Assyrians, Medes, Parthians, Persians, Greeks, and Armenians. The population of Asorestan was a mixed one, composed of Assyrians, Arameans (in the far south, and western deserts), and Persians.[54]

Along with the Arameans, Phoenicians, Armenians, Greeks and Nabateans, the Assyrians were among the first people to convert to Christianity and spread Eastern Christianity to the Far East. The Council of Seleucia of ca. 325 dealt with jurisdictional conflicts among the leading bishops. They were divided by the Nestorian Schism in the 5th century, and from the 8th century, they became a religious minority following the Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia.

At the subsequent Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon of 410, the Christian communities of Mesopotamia renounced all subjection to Antioch and the "Western" bishops and the Bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon assumed the rank of Catholicos. Whereas Latin and Greek Christian cultures became protected by the Roman and Byzantine empires respectively, Assyrian/Syriac Christianity often found itself marginalised and persecuted.

The Nestorian schism and Monophysite schisms of the 5th century divided the church into separate denominations. With the rise of Syriac Christianity, eastern Aramaic enjoyed a renaissance as a classical language in the 2nd to 8th centuries, and the modern Assyrian people continue to speak eastern Neo-Aramaic dialects which still retain a number of Akkadian loan words to this day.

Arab conquest

Further information: Muslim conquest of Persia

The Assyrians initially experienced some periods of religious and cultural freedom interspersed with periods of severe religious and ethnic persecution after the Arab Islamic invasion and conquest of the 7th century AD. As heirs to ancient Mesopotamian civilization and culture, they also contributed hugely to the Arab Islamic Civilization during the Umayyads and the Abbasids by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic. They also excelled in philosophy, science and theology (such as Tatian, Bar Daisan, Babai the Great, Nestorius, Toma bar Yacoub etc.) and the personal physicians of the Abbasid Caliphs were often Assyrian Christians such as the long serving Bukhtishu dynasty.[55]

However, despite this, indigenous Assyrians became second class citizens in a greater Arab Islamic state, and those who resisted Arabisation and conversion to Islam were subject to severe religious, ethnic and cultural discrimination, and had certain restrictions imposed upon them.[56] Assyrians were excluded from specific duties and occupations reserved for Muslims, they did not enjoy the same political rights as Muslims, their word was not equal to that of a Muslim in legal and civil matters, as Christians they were subject to payment of a special tax (jizyah), they were banned from spreading their religion further or building new churches in Muslim ruled lands, but were also expected to adhere to the same laws of property, contract and obligation as the Muslim Arabs.[57]

As non-Islamic proselytising was punishable by death under Sharia law, the Assyrians were forced into preaching in Transoxania, Central Asia, India, Mongolia and China where they established numerous churches. The Church of the East was considered to be one of the major Christian powerhouses in the world, alongside Latin Christianity in Europe and the Byzantine Empire.[58]

From the 7th century AD onwards Mesopotamia saw a steady influx of Arabs, Kurds and other Iranian peoples,[59] and later Turkic peoples, and the indigenous population retaining native Mesopotamian culture, identity, language, religion and customs were steadily marginalised and gradually became a minority in their own homeland.[60]

Assyrian people, still retaining Akkadian infused and influenced Eastern Aramaic and Assyrian Church of the East Christianity, remained dominant in the north of Mesopotamia (what had been Assyria) as late as the 14th century AD[61] and the city of Assur was still occupied by Assyrians during the Islamic period until the mid-14th century when the Muslim Turco-Mongol ruler Tamurlane conducted a religiously motivated massacre of indigenous Assyrians. After that, there are no traces of a settlement at Ashur in the archaeological and numismatic record, and from this point the Assyrian population was dramatically reduced in their homeland.[62]

Starting from the 19th century after the rise of nationalism in the Balkans, the Ottomans started viewing Assyrians and other Christians in their eastern front as a potential threat. The Kurdish Emirs sought to consolidate their power by attacking Assyrian communities which were already well established there. Scholars estimate that tens of thousands of Assyrian in the Hakkari region were massacred in 1843 when Badr Khan the emir of Bohtan invaded their region.[63] After a later massacre in 1846 The Ottomans were forced by the western powers into intervening in the region, and the ensuing conflict destroyed the Kurdish emirates and reasserted the Ottoman power in the area. The Assyrians of Amid were also subject to the massacres of 1895.[64]

Culturally, ethnically and linguistically distinct from, although both quite influencing on, and quite influenced by, their neighbours in the Middle East — the Arabs, Persians, Kurds, Turks, Jews and Armenians — the Assyrians have endured much hardship throughout their recent history as a result of religious and ethnic persecution.[65]

Mongolian and Turkic rule

Further information: Timurid Empire, Ak Koyunlu and Kara Koyunlu

After initially coming under Seljuk and Buyid rule, the region eventually came under the control of the Mongol Empire after the fall of Baghdad in 1258. The Mongol khans were sympathetic with Christians and did not harm them. The most prominent among them was probably Isa, a diplomat, astrologer, and head of the Christian affairs in the Yuan Dynasty in East Asia. He spent some time in Persia under the Ilkhans. The 14th century AD massacres of Timur in particular, devastated the Assyrian people. Timur's massacres and pillages of all that was Christian drastically reduced their existence. At the end of the reign of Timur, the Assyrian population had almost been eradicated in many places. Toward the end of the thirteenth century, Bar Hebraeus (or Bar-Abraya), the noted Assyrian scholar and hierarch, found "much quietness" in his diocese in Mesopotamia. Syria’s diocese, he wrote, was "wasted."[citation needed]

The region was later controlled by the in Iran-based Turkic confederations of the Aq Qoyunlu and Qara Qoyunlu. Subsequently all Assyrians, like with the rest of the ethnicities living in the former Ak Koyunlu territories, fell in Iranian Safavid hands from 1501 and on.

From Iranian Safavid to confirmed Ottoman rule

The Ottomans secured their control over Mesopotamia and Syria in the first half of the 17th century following the Ottoman–Safavid War (1623–39) and the resulting Treaty of Zuhab. Non-Muslims were organised into millets. Syriac Christians, however, were often considered one millet alongside Armenians until the 19th century, when Nestorian, Syriac Orthodox and Chaldeans gained that right as well.[66]

A religious schism amongs the Assyrians took place in the mid to late 16th century. Dissent over the hereditary succession within the Assyrian Church of the East grew until 1552, when a group of Assyrian bishops, from the northern regions of Amid and Salmas, elected a priest, Mar Yohannan Sulaqa, as a rival patriarch. To look for a bishop of metropolitan rank to consecrate him patriarch, Sulaqa traveled to the pope in Rome and entered into communion with the Catholic Church. In 1553 he was consecrated bishop and elevated to the rank of patriarch taking the name of Mar Shimun VIII. He was granted the title of "Patriarch of the Chaldeans," and his church was named the Church of Athura and Mosul.[67]

Mar Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa returned to northern Mesopotamia in the same year and fixed his seat in Amid. Before being put to death by the partisans of the Assyrian Church of the East patriarch of Alqosh,[68]:57 he ordained five metropolitan bishops thus beginning a new ecclesiastical hierarchy: the patriarchal line known as the Shimun line. The area of influence of this patriarchate soon moved from Amid east, fixing the See, after many places, in the isolated Assyrian village of Qochanis. Although this new church eventually drifted away from Rome by 1600 AD and reentered communion with the Assyrian Church, the archbishop of Amid reinstated relations with Rome in 1672 AD, giving birth to the modern Chaldean Catholic Church.

In the 1840s many of the Assyrians living in the mountains of Hakkari in the south eastern corner of the Ottoman Empire were massacred by the Kurdish emirs of Hakkari and Bohtan.[69]

Another major massacre of Assyrians (and Armenians) in the Ottoman Empire occurred between 1894 and 1897 AD by Turkish troops and their Kurdish allies during the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The motives for these massacres were an attempt to reassert Pan-Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, resentment at the comparative wealth of the ancient indigenous Christian communities, and a fear that they would attempt to secede from the tottering Ottoman Empire. Assyrians were massacred in Diyarbakir, Hasankeyef, Sivas and other parts of Anatolia, by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. These attacks caused the death of over thousands of Assyrians and the forced "Ottomanisation" of the inhabitants of 245 villages. The Turkish troops looted the remains of the Assyrian settlements and these were later stolen and occupied by Kurds. Unarmed Assyrian women and children were raped, tortured and murdered.[70]

World War I and aftermath

The burning of bodies of Assyrian women

The Assyrians suffered a number of religiously and ethnically motivated massacres throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries AD,[71] culminating in the large scale Hamidian massacres of unarmed men, women and children by Muslim Turks and Kurds in the late 19th century at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and its associated (largely Kurdish and Arab) militias, which further greatly reduced numbers, particularly in southeastern Turkey.

The most significant recent persecution against the Assyrian population was the Assyrian genocide which occurred during the First World War. Between 275,000 and 300,000 Assyrians were estimated to have been slaughtered by the armies of the Ottoman Empire and their Kurdish allies, totalling up to two-thirds of the entire Assyrian population.

This led to a large-scale migration of Turkish-based Assyrian people into countries such as Syria, Iran, and Iraq (where they were to suffer further violent assaults at the hands of the Arabs and Kurds), as well as other neighbouring countries in and around the Middle East such as Armenia, Georgia and Russia.[72][73][74][75]

In reaction to the Assyrian Genocide and lured by British and Russian promises of an independent nation, the Assyrians led by Agha Petros and Malik Khoshaba of the Bit-Tyari tribe, fought alongside the allies against Ottoman forces in an Assyrian war of independence. Despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned the Assyrians fought successfully, scoring a number of victories over the Turks and Kurds. This situation continued until their Russian allies left the war, and Armenian resistance broke, leaving the Assyrians surrounded, isolated and cut off from lines of supply. The sizable Assyrian presence in south eastern Anatolia which had endured for over four millennia was thus reduced to no more than 15,000 by the end of World War I.

Modern history

Assyrian refugees on a wagon moving to a newly constructed village on the Khabur river in Syria.

The majority of Assyrian living in what is today modern Turkey were forced to flee to either Syria or Iraq after the Turkish victory during the Turkish War of Independence. In 1932, Assyrians refused to become part of the newly formed state of Iraq and instead demanded their recognition as a nation within a nation. The Assyrian leader Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII asked the League of Nations to recognize the right of Assyrians to govern the area known as the "Assyrian triangle" in northern Iraq.

The Assyrian Levies were founded by the British in 1928, with ancient Assyrian military rankings such as Rab-shakeh, Rab-talia and Tartan, being revived for the first time in millennia for this force. The Assyrians were prized by the British rulers for their fighting qualities, loyalty, bravery and discipline,[76] and were used to help the British put down insurrections among the Arabs and Kurds. During World War II, eleven Assyrian companies saw action in Palestine and another four served in Cyprus. The Parachute Company was attached to the Royal Marine Commando and were involved in fighting in Albania, Italy and Greece. The Assyrian Levies played a major role in subduing the pro-Nazi Iraqi forces at the battle of Habbaniya in 1941.

However, this cooperation with the British was viewed with suspicion by some leaders of the newly formed Kingdom of Iraq. The tension reached its peak shortly after the formal declaration of independence when hundreds of Assyrian civilians were massacred during the Simele Massacre by the Iraqi Army in August 1933. The events lead to the expulsion of Shimun XXIII Eshai the Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East to the United States where resided until his death in 1975.[77][78]

Celebration at a Syriac Orthodox monastery in Mosul, Ottoman Syria, early 20th century.

The period from the 1940s through to 1963 saw a period of respite for the Assyrians. The regime of President Kassim in particular saw the Assyrians accepted into mainstream society. Many urban Assyrians became successful businessmen, others were well represented in politics and the military, their towns and villages flourished undisturbed, and Assyrians came to excel, and be over represented in sports

The Ba'ath Party seized power in Iraq and Syria in 1963, which introduced laws that aimed at suppressing the Assyrian national identity, the Arab Nationalist policies of the Ba'athists included renewed attempts to forcibly "Arabize" the indigenous Assyrians. The giving of traditional Assyrian/Akkadian names and East Aramaic/Syriac versions of Biblical names was banned, Assyrian schools, political parties, churches and literature were repressed and Assyrians were heavily pressured into identifying as Arab Christians. The Ba'athist government refused to recognise Assyrians as an ethnic group, and fostered divisions among the ethnic Assyrians along religious lines (e.g. Assyrian Church of the East vs Chaldean Catholic Church vs Syriac Orthodox Church vs Assyrian Protestant).[79]

In response to Baathist persecution, the Assyrians of the Zowaa movement within the Assyrian Democratic Movement took up armed struggle against the Iraqi government in 1982 under the leadership of Yonadam Kanna,[80] and then joined up with the Iraqi-Kurdistan Front in early 1990s. Yonadam Kanna in particular was a target of the Saddam Hussein Ba'ath government for many years.

The al-Anfal Campaign of 1986–1989 in Iraq was predominantly aimed at Kurds. However, 2,000 Assyrians were murdered through its gas campaigns; over 31 towns and villages and 25 Assyrian monasteries and churches were razed to the ground; a number of Assyrians were murdered; others were deported to large cities, and their land and homes then being appropriated by Arabs and Kurds.[81][82]

21st century

Assyrian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia

Since the 2003 Iraq War social unrest and anarchy have resulted in the unprovoked persecution of Assyrians in Iraq, mostly by Islamic extremists, (both Shia and Sunni), and to some degree by Kurdish nationalists.[citation needed] In places such as Dora, a neighborhood in southwestern Baghdad, the majority of its Assyrian population has either fled abroad or to northern Iraq, or has been murdered.[83]

Islamic resentment over the United States' occupation of Iraq, and incidents such as the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons and the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy, have resulted in Muslims attacking Assyrian Christian communities. Since the start of the Iraq war, at least 46 churches and monasteries have been bombed.[84]

The Syriac Military Council is an Assyrian/Syriac military organisation in Syria. The establishment of the organisation was announced on 8 January 2013. According to the Syriac Military Council the goal of the organisation is to stand up for the national rights of Syriacs and to protect the Syriac people in Syria. It intends to work together with the other communities in Syria to change the current government of Bashar al-Assad. The organisation will fight mostly in the densely populated Syriac areas of the Governorates of Aleppo, Damascus, Al-Hasakah, Latakia and Homs.[85]

In recent years, the Assyrians in northern Iraq and north east Syria have become the target of extreme unprovoked Islamic terrorism. As a result, Assyrians have taken up arms, alongside other groups (such as the Kurds, Turcomans and Armenians) in response to unprovoked attacks by Al Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL, Nusra Front and other terrorist Islamic Fundamentalist groups. In 2014 Islamic terrorists of ISIS attacked Assyrian towns and villages in the Assyrian Homeland of northern Iraq, together with cities such as Mosul and Kirkuk which have large Assyrian populations. There have been reports of atrocities committed by ISIS terrorists since, including; beheadings, crucifixions, child murders, rape, forced conversions, Ethnic Cleansing, robbery, and extortion in the form of illegal taxes levied upon non Muslims. Assyrians in Iraq have responded by forming armed militias to defend their territories.

Thus far, the only people who have been attested with a high level of genetic, historical, linguistic and cultural research to be the descendants of the ancient Mesopotamians are the Assyrians of Iraq and its surrounding areas in north west Iran, north east Syria and south eastern Turkey (see Assyrian continuity), although others have made unsubstantiated claims of continuity. Assyria continued to exist as a geopolitical entity until the Arab-Islamic conquest in the mid-7th century, and Assyrian identity, personal, family and tribal names, and both spoken and written evolutions of Mesopotamian Aramaic (which still contain many Akkadian loan words and an Akkadian grammatical structure) have survived among the Assyrian people from ancient times to this day.


Assyrian world population.
  more than 500,000
  less than 10,000


Main article: Assyrian homeland

The Assyrians are considered to be one of the indigenous people in the Middle East. Their homeland was thought to be located in the area around the Tigris and Euphrates. Today, the indigenous Assyrian homeland areas are "part of today's northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran and northeastern Syria".[43][44] There were also long time and significant communities outside the bounds of their Assyrian homeland in the major cities of the countries they were in such as Aleppo, Baghdad, Antep, Urfa, Amida, and Istanbul.

There still remains a sizable Assyrian population in Syria, where an estimated 400,000 Assyrians live.[2] There still remains a sizable Assyrian population in Iraq, where an estimated 300,000 Assyrians live.[3] There still remains a small Assyrian population in Iran, where an estimated 20,000 Assyrians live.[4][5]

In Tur Abdin, one of the two traditional homelands for Assyrians in Turkey, there are only 3,000 left,[86] and an estimated 25,000 in all of Turkey.[87] The other area of the Assyrian homeland, which was largely in what is the modern day Hakkari Province of Turkey, was completely purged in the 1915 Assyrian genocide, which also caused many of the Assyrians/Syriacs in Turkey to flee to other areas of unaffected traditional homelands in Syria, Iran, and Iraq. However, some went to other neighbouring countries in and around the Caucasus and Middle East like Armenia, Georgia, southern Russia, Lebanon, Jordan, and others left entirely the Middle East area and went to the Western world countries.

The Assyrian/Syriac people can be divided along geographic, linguistic, and denominational lines, the three main groups being:

Note: Assyrian followers of the Chaldean Catholic church make up the majority of the Iraqi Christian population since their conversion to Catholicism from the Assyrian Church of the East in the 17th and 18th centuries.


Due to their Christian faith and ethnicity, the Assyrians have been persecuted since their adoption of Christianity. During the reign of Yazdegerd I, Christians in Persia were viewed with suspicion as potential Roman subversives, resulting in persecutions while at the same time promoting Nestorian Christianity as a buffer between the Churches of Rome and Persia. Persecutions and attempts to impose Zoroastrianism continued during the reign of Yazdegerd II.[88][89]

During the eras of Mongol rule under Genghis Khan and Timur, there was indiscriminate slaughter of tens of thousands of Assyrians and destruction of the Assyrian population of northwestern Iran and central and northern Iran.[90]

More recent persecutions since the 19th century include the Massacres of Badr Khan, the Massacres of Diyarbakır (1895), the Adana massacre, the Assyrian Genocide, the Simele Massacre, and the al-Anfal Campaign.


Since the Assyrian genocide, many Assyrians have fled their Assyrian homeland for a more safe and comfortable life in the Western world countries. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Assyrian population in the Middle East has decreased dramatically. As of today there are more Assyrians in Europe, USA, Canada, and Australia than in their former homeland.

Today, the largest Assyrian diaspora communities are found in the United States (110,807–400,000),[8][9] Jordan (100,000–150,000),[10][11] Sweden (100,000),[12] and in Germany (100,000).[13] The largest Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac diaspora communities are those of Södertälje, Chicago, and Detroit.


Assyrian flag (since 1968)[91]

Assyrians of the Middle East and diaspora employ different terms for self-identification based on conflicting beliefs in the origin and identity of their respective communities.[93] In certain areas of the Assyrian homeland, identity within a community depends on a person's village of origin (see List of Assyrian villages) or Christian denomination rather than their ethnic commonality, for instance Chaldean Catholic.[94]

Today, Assyrians and other minority ethnic groups in the Middle East, feel pressure to identify as "Arabs",[95][96] "Turks" and "Kurds".[97] In addition, Western Media often makes no mention of any ethnic identity of the Christian people of the region and simply call them Christians,[98] Iraqi Christians, Iranian Christians, Syrian Christians, and Turkish Christians, a label rejected by Assyrians.


Below are terms commonly used by Assyrians to self-identify:

  • Assyrian, named after the ancient Assyrian people, is advocated by followers from within all East and West Syrian Churches (see Syriac Christianity)[93][99]
  • Chaldean, named after the ancient Chaldean people, is advocated by some followers of the Chaldean Catholic Church[98]
  • Syriac, named after the Syriac language, can be found advocated by followers of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Syriac Catholic Church[98]
  • Aramean, named after the ancient Aramean people, is advocated by followers of the Syriac Orthodox Church from the Tur Abdin region of Southeast Turkey,[100][101] and some followers of Syriac Catholic Church in Israel.[102]

Assyrian vs. Syrian naming controversy

As early as the 8th century BC Luwian and Cilician subject rulers referred to their Assyrian overlords as Syrian, a western Indo-European bastardisation of the true term Assyrian. This corruption of the name took hold in the Hellenic lands to the west of the old Assyrian Empire, thus during Greek Seleucid rule from 323 BC the name Assyria was altered to Syria, and this term was also applied to Aramea to the west which had been an Assyrian colony. When the Seleucids lost control of Assyria to the Parthians they retained the corrupted term (Syria), applying it to ancient Aramea, while the Parthians called Assyria "Assuristan," a Parthian form of the original name. It is from this period that the Syrian vs Assyrian controversy arises. Today it is accepted by the majority of scholars that the Medieval, Renaissance and Victorian term Syriac when used to describe the indigenous Christians of Mesopotamia and its immediate surrounds in effect means Aramean.[103]

The modern terminological problem goes back to colonial times, but it became more acute in 1946, when with the independence of Syria, the adjective Syrian referred to an independent state. The controversy isn't restricted to exonyms like English "Assyrian" vs. "Aramaean", but also applies to self-designation in Neo-Aramaic, the minority "Aramaean" faction endorses both Sūryāyē ܣܘܪܝܝܐ and Ārāmayē ܐܪܡܝܐ, while the majority "Assyrian" faction insists on Āṯūrāyē ܐܬܘܪܝܐ but also accepts Sūryāyē. However, an increasing number of scholars as well as "Syriacs" have begun to use Aramean to refer to this distinct ethnicity (as opposed to ethic Assyrians) since this is historically, culturally and linguistically a more accurate term.

Alqosh, located in the midst of Assyrian contemporary civilization.

The question of ethnic identity and self-designation is sometimes connected to the scholarly debate on the etymology of "Syria". The question has a long history of academic controversy, but majority mainstream opinion currently strongly favours that Syria is indeed ultimately derived from the Assyrian term 𒀸𒋗𒁺 𐎹 Aššūrāyu.[104] [105] Meanwhile, some scholars has disclaimed the theory of Syrian being derived from Assyrian as "simply naive", and detracted its importance to the naming conflict.[106]

Rudolf Macuch points out that the Eastern Neo-Aramaic press initially used the term "Syrian" (suryêta) and only much later, with the rise of nationalism, switched to "Assyrian" (atorêta).[107] According to Tsereteli, however, a Georgian equivalent of "Assyrians" appears in ancient Georgian, Armenian and Russian documents.[108] This correlates with the theory of the nations to the East of Mesopotamia knew the group as Assyrians, while to the West, beginning with Greek influence, the group was known as Syrians. Syria being a Greek corruption of Assyria.

The debate appears to have been settled by the discovery of the Çineköy inscription in favour of Syria being derived from Assyria.

The Çineköy inscription is a Hieroglyphic Luwian-Phoenician bilingual, uncovered from Çineköy, Adana Province, Turkey (ancient Cilicia), dating to the 8th century BC. Originally published by Tekoglu and Lemaire (2000),[109] it was more recently the subject of a 2006 paper published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, in which the author, Robert Rollinger, lends support to the age-old debate of the name "Syria" being derived from "Assyria" (see Etymology of Syria).

The object on which the inscription is found is a monument belonging to Urikki, vassal king of Hiyawa (i.e., Cilicia), dating to the eighth century BC. In this monumental inscription, Urikki made reference to the relationship between his kingdom and his Assyrian overlords. The Luwian inscription reads "Sura/i" whereas the Phoenician translation reads ’ŠR or "Ashur" which, according to Rollinger (2006), "settles the problem once and for all".[110]


Main article: Assyrian culture
Assyrian child dressed in traditional clothes.

Assyrian culture is largely influenced by Christianity.[111] Main festivals occur during religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas. There are also secular holidays such as Kha b-Nisan (vernal equinox).[112]

People often greet and bid relatives farewell with a kiss on each cheek and by saying "ܫܠܡܐ ܥܠܝܟ" Shlama/Shlomo lokh, which means: "Peace be upon you." Others are greeted with a handshake with the right hand only; according to Middle Eastern customs, the left hand is associated with evil. Similarly, shoes may not be left facing up, one may not have their feet facing anyone directly, whistling at night is thought to waken evil spirits, etc.[113]

There are many Assyrian customs that are common in other Middle Eastern cultures. A parent will often place an eye pendant on their baby to prevent "an evil eye being cast upon it".[114] Spitting on anyone or their belongings is seen as a grave insult.


Main article: Neo-Aramaic languages
ܐ    ܒ    ܓ    ܕ    ܗ    ܘ
ܙ    ܚ    ܛ    ܝ    ܟܟ    ܠ
ܡܡ    ܢܢ    ܣ    ܥ    ܦ
ܨ    ܩ    ܪ    ܫ    ܬ

The Neo-Aramaic languages are ultimately descended from Old Aramaic, the lingua franca in the later phase of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, displacing the East Semitic Assyrian dialect of Akkadian. Aramaic was the language of commerce, trade and communication and became the vernacular language of Assyria in classical antiquity.[115][116][117] By the 1st century AD, Akkadian was extinct, although some loaned vocabulary still survives in Assyrian Neo-Aramaic to this day.[118][119]

To the native speaker, "Syriac" is usually called Soureth or Suret. A wide variety of languages and dialects exist, including Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Western Neo-Aramaic and Turoyo. Minority dialects include Senaya and Bohtan Neo-Aramaic, which are both near extinction. All are classified as Neo-Aramaic languages and are written using Syriac script, a derivative of the ancient Aramaic script. Jewish varieties such as Lishanid Noshan, Lishán Didán and Lishana Deni, written in the Hebrew script, are spoken by Assyrian Jews.[120][121][122]

There is a considerable amount of mutual intelligibility between Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Senaya, Lishana Deni and Bohtan Neo-Aramaic. Therefore, these "languages" would generally be considered to be dialects of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic rather than separate languages. The Jewish Aramaic languages of Lishan Didan and Lishanid Noshan share a partial intelligibility with these varieties. The mutual intelligibility between the aforementioned languages and Turoyo and Western Neo-Aramic is, depending on the dialect, limited to partial, and may be asymmetrical.[120][123][124]

Assyrians also may speak one or more languages of their country of residence. Being stateless, Assyrians also learn the language or languages of their adopted country, usually Arabic, Armenian, Persian or Turkish. In northern Iraq and western Iran, Turkish and Kurdish are widely spoken.

Recent archaeological evidence includes a statue from Syria with Akkadian and Aramaic inscriptions.[125] It is the oldest known Aramaic text.


Historical divisions within Syriac Christian Churches in the Middle East.
Main article: Syriac Christianity

Assyrians belong to various Christian denominations such as the Assyrian Church of the East, with an estimated 400,000 members,[126] the Chaldean Catholic Church, with about 900,000 members,[127] and the Syriac Orthodox Church (ʿIdto Suryoyto Triṣaṯ Šuḇḥo), which has between 1,000,000 and 4,000,000 members around the world (only some of whom are Assyrians),[128] the Ancient Church of the East with some 100,000 members, and various Protestant churches, such as the Assyrian Pentecostal Church with 25,000 adherents, and the Assyrian Evangelical Church. While Assyrians are predominantly Christians, a number are irreligious.

As of 2011 Mar Dinkha IV, resident in Chicago Illinois, was Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Addai II, with headquarters in Baghdad, was Patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East, and Ignatius Zakka I Iwas was Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, with headquarters in Damascus. Mar Emmanuel III Delly, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, was the first Patriarch to be elevated to Cardinal, joining the college of cardinals in November 2007.

Many members of the following churches consider themselves Assyrian. Ethnic identities are often deeply intertwined with religion, a legacy of the Ottoman Millet system. The group is traditionally characterized as adhering to various churches of Syriac Christianity and speaking Neo-Aramaic languages. It is subdivided into:

For obvious reasons the Chaldean Catholics who follow the East Syrian Rite and were originally members of the historical Church of the East are not Nestorian in theology, a designation which the Church of the East itself denied.

A small minority of Assyrians of the above denominations accepted the Protestant Reformation in the 20th century, possibly due to British influences, and is now organized in the Assyrian Evangelical Church, the Assyrian Pentecostal Church and other Protestant Assyrian groups.

Baptism and First Communion are celebrated extensively, similar to a Bris or Bar Mitzvah in Jewish communities. After a death, a gathering is held three days after burial to celebrate the ascension to heaven of the dead person, as of Jesus; after seven days another gathering commemorates their death. A close family member wears only black clothes for forty days and nights, or sometimes a year, as a sign of mourning.


Assyrian/Syriacs playing zurna and Davul

The abooba ܐܒܘܒܐ (basic flute) and ṭavla ܛܒ݂ܠܐ (large two-sided drum) became the most common musical instruments for tribal music. Some well known Assyrian/Syriac singers in modern times are Ashur Bet Sargis, Sargon Gabriel, Habib Mousa, Josef Özer, Janan Sawa, Klodia Hanna, Juliana Jendo, and Linda George.

The first International Aramaic Music Festival was held in Lebanon from 1 August until 4 August 2008 for Assyrian people internationally. Assyrians are also involved in western contemporary music, such as Rock/Metal (Melechesh), Rap (Timz) and Techno/Dance (Aril Brikha).


Main article: Assyrian folk dance

Assyrians have numerous traditional dances which are performed mostly for special occasions such as weddings. Assyrian dance is a blend of both ancient indigenous and general near eastern elements.


Assyrian festivals tend to be closely associated with their Christian faith, of which Easter is the most prominent of the celebrations. Members of the Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church and Syriac Catholic Church follow the Gregorian calendar and as a result celebrate Easter on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25 inclusively.[129] However, members of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Ancient Church of the East celebrate Easter on a Sunday between April 4 and May 8 inclusively on the Gregorian calendar (March 22 and April 25 on the Julian calendar). During Lent, Assyrians are encouraged to fast for 50 days from meat and any other foods which are animal based.

Assyrians celebrate a number of festivals unique to their culture and traditions as well as religious ones:

  • Kha b-Nisan ܚܕ ܒܢܝܣܢ, the Assyrian New Year, traditionally on April 1, though usually celebrated on January 1. Assyrians usually wear traditional costumes and hold social events including parades and parties, dancing, and listening to poets telling the story of creation.[130]
  • Sauma d-Ba'utha ܒܥܘܬܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܝܐ, the Nineveh fast, is a three-day period of fasting and prayer.[131]
  • Somikka, All Saints Day, is celebrated to motivate children to fast during Lent through use of frightening costumes
  • Kalu d'Sulaqa, feast of the Bride of the Ascension, celebrates Assyrian resistance to the invasion of Assyria by Tamerlane
  • Nusardyl, commemorating the baptism of the Assyrians of Urmia by St. Thomas.[132]
  • Sharra d'Mart Maryam, usually on August 15, a festival and feast celebrating St. Mary with games, food, and celebration.[132]
  • Other Sharras (special festivals) include: Sharra d'Mart Shmuni, Sharra d'Mar Shimon Bar-Sabbaye, Sharra d'Mar Mari, and Shara d'Mar Zaia, Mar Bishu, Mar Sawa, Mar Sliwa, and Mar Odisho
  • Yoma d'Sah'deh (Day of Martyrs), commemorating the thousands massacred in the Simele Massacre and the hundreds of thousands massacred in the Assyrian Genocide.

Assyrians also practice unique marriage ceremonies. The rituals performed during weddings are derived from many different elements from the past 3,000 years. An Assyrian wedding traditionally lasted a week. Today, weddings in the Assyrian homeland usually last 2–3 days; in the Assyrian diaspora they last 1–2 days.

Traditional clothing

Main article: Assyrian clothing

Assyrian clothing varies from village to village. Clothing is usually blue, red, green, yellow, and purple; these colors are also used as embroidery on a white piece of clothing. Decoration is lavish in Assyrian costumes, and sometimes involves jewellery. The conical hats of traditional Assyrian dress have changed little over millennia from those worn in ancient Mesopotamia, and until the 19th and early 20th centuries the ancient Mesopotamian tradition of braiding or platting of hair, beards and moustaches was still commonplace.


Main article: Assyrian cuisine

Assyrian cuisine is similar to other Middle Eastern cuisines. It is rich in grain, meat, potato, cheese, bread and tomato. Typically rice is served with every meal, with a stew poured over it. Tea is a popular drink, and there are several dishes of desserts, snacks, and beverages. Alcoholic drinks such as wine and wheat beer are organically produced and drunk.


Late 20th century DNA analysis conducted by Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza, "shows that Assyrians have a distinct genetic profile that distinguishes their population from any other population."[133] Genetic analysis of the Assyrians of Persia demonstrated that they were "closed" with little "intermixture" with the Muslim Persian population and that an individual Assyrian's genetic makeup is relatively close to that of the Assyrian population as a whole.[134][135] "The genetic data are compatible with historical data that religion played a major role in maintaining the Assyrian population's separate identity during the Christian era".[133]

In a 2006 study of the Y chromosome DNA of six regional Armenian populations, including, for comparison, Assyrians and Syrians, researchers found that, "the Semitic populations (Assyrians and Syrians) are very distinct from each other according to both [comparative] axes. This difference supported also by other methods of comparison points out the weak genetic affinity between the two populations with different historical destinies." [136]

A 2008 study on the genetics of "old ethnic groups in Mesopotamia," including 340 subjects from seven ethnic communities ("Assyrian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Armenian, Turkmen, the Arab peoples in Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait") found that Assyrians were homogeneous with respect to all other ethnic groups sampled in the study, regardless of religious affiliation.[137]

In a 2011 study focusing on the genetics of Marsh Arabs of Iraq, researchers identified Y chromosome haplotypes shared by Marsh Arabs, Iraqis, and Assyrians, "supporting a common local background." [138]

Assyrians are related to Iraqis,[139][140] and also to Jordanians, yet due to religious endogamy have a distinct genetic profile that distinguishes their population.[18] "The Assyrians are a fairly homogeneous group of people, believed to originate from the land of old Assyria in northern Iraq [..] they are Christians and are bona fide descendants of their namesakes."[141] A number of northwest and central Iraqis who today speak Arabic are originally of Assyrian roots.[142][143]"[140]

See also



  1. ^ UNPO: Assyria
  2. ^ a b "Syria’s Assyrians threatened by extremists – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "مسؤول مسيحي : عدد المسيحيين في العراق تراجع الى ثلاثمائة الف". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ishtar: Documenting The Crisis In The Assyrian Iranian Community". 
  5. ^ a b United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2010-10-13). "Iran: Last of the Assyrians". Refworld. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  6. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Refworld - World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Turkey : Assyrians". Refworld. 
  7. ^ Joshua Project. "Assyrian in Turkey". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder – Results". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Brief History of Assyrians". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Thrown to the Lions, Doug Bandow, The America Spectator
  11. ^ a b Jordan Should Legally Recognize Displaced Iraqis As Refugees, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians Flee Iraq to Neighboring Jordan, ASSIST News Service
  12. ^ a b Demographics of Sweden, Swedish Language Council "Sweden has also one of the largest exile communities of Assyrian and Syriac Christians (also known as Chaldeans) with a population of around 100,000."
  13. ^ a b "Erzdiözese". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "Redirect to Census data page". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Fear checks turnout for Iraq poll". 
  16. ^ "Origins: History of immigration from Iraq - Immigration Museum, Melbourne Australia". 
  17. ^ Tore Kjeilen. "Lebanon / Religions – LookLex Encyclopaedia". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f "CNN Under-Estimates Iraqi Assyrian Population". Retrieved 2013-09-18.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ReferenceA" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  19. ^ Wieviorka & Bataille 2007, pp. 166
  20. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  21. ^ Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  22. ^ Joshua Project. "Assyrian of United Kingdom Ethnic People Profile". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  23. ^ Tzilivakis, Kathy (10 May 2003). "Iraq's Forgotten Christians Face Exclusion in Greece". Athens News. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  24. ^ "Georgia – – European Country of Origin Information Network". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  25. ^ State statistics committee of Ukraine – National composition of population, 2001 census (Ukrainian)
  26. ^ 2011 Armenian Census
  27. ^ New Zealand 2006 census
  28. ^ Joshua Project. "Assyrian in Azerbaijan". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ "Assyrian Community in Kazakhstan Survived Dark Times, Now Focuses on Education". The Astana Times. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  31. ^ Kazakhstan Live
  32. ^ "Assyrian Association Founded in Finland". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  33. ^ For use of the term Chaldean, see:
    • John A. Shoup, Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia, p. 30 [2]
    • Nicholas Aljeloo, Who Are The Assyrians? [3]
    • Mordechai Nisan, Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression, p. 180 [4]
    • UNPO Assyria [5]
    • Steven L. Danver, Native Peoples of the World: An Encylopedia of Groups, Cultures and Contemporary Issues, p. 517 [6]
  34. ^ For use of the term Syriac, see:
    • John A. Shoup, Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia, p. 30
    • Nicholas Aljeloo, Who Are The Assyrians?
    • UNPO Assyria
    • Steven L. Danver, Native Peoples of the World: An Encylopedia of Groups, Cultures and Contemporary Issues, p. 517
    • James Minahan, Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: A-C, pp. 205-206
  35. ^ For use of the term Aramean, see
    • Donabed & Mako, Identity of Syrian Orthodox Christians, p. 72
    • Nicholas Aljeloo, Who Are The Assyrians?
    • John A. Shoup, Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia, p. 30
  36. ^ For Assyrians as indigenous to the Middle East, see
    • Mordechai Nisan, Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression, p. 180
    • James Minahan, Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: A-C, p. 206
    • Carl Skutsch, Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities, p. 149
    • Steven L. Danver, Native Peoples of the World: An Encylopedia of Groups, Cultures and Contemporary Issues, p. 517
    • UNPO Assyria
    • Richard T. Schaefer, Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society, p. 107
  37. ^ James Minahan, Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: A-C, pp. 205-209
  38. ^ For Assyrians speaking a Neo-Aramaic language, see
    • The British Survey, By British Society for International Understanding, 1968, p. 3
    • Carl Skutsch, Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities, p. 149
    • Farzad Sharifian, René Dirven, Ning Yu, Susanne Niemeier, Culture, Body, and Language: Conceptualizations of Internal Body Organs across Cultures and Languages, p. 268
    • UNPO Assyria
  39. ^ Carl Skutsch, Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities, p. 149
  40. ^ For Assyrians as a Christian people, see
    • Joel J. Elias, The Genetics of Modern Assyrians and their Relationship to Other People of the Middle East [7]
    • Steven L. Danver, Native Peoples of the World: An Encylopedia of Groups, Cultures and Contemporary Issues, p. 517
    • UNPO Assyria
    • James Minahan, Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: A-C, p. 209
  41. ^ The Genetics of Modern Assyrians and their Relationship to Other People of the Middle East
  42. ^ A. Leo Oppenheim (1964). Ancient Mesopotamia (PDF). The University of Chicago Press. 
  43. ^ a b Reforging a Forgotten History: Iraq and the Assyrians in the Twentieth Century By Sargon Donabed
  44. ^ a b Carl Skutsch (2013). Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. Routledge. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-135-19388-1. 
  45. ^ Joshua Project. "Assyrian in Georgia". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  46. ^ Dr. Eden Naby. "Documenting The Crisis In The Assyrian Iranian Community". 
  47. ^ "Assyrian Christians 'Most Vulnerable Population' in Iraq". The Christian Post. Archived from the original on 6 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-05. 
  48. ^ "Iraq's Christian community, fights for its survival". Christian World News. 
  49. ^ "U.S. Gov't Watchdog Urges Protection for Iraq's Assyrian Christians". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  50. ^ Genesis 25:3
  51. ^ a b c d "Ancient and Modern Assyrians: A Scientific Analysis". Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  52. ^ Artifacts show rivals Athens and Sparta, Yahoo News, December 5, 2006.
  53. ^ Olmatead, History of the Persian Empire, Chicago University Press, 1959, p.39
  54. ^ Etheredge, Laura (2011). Iraq. Rosen Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 9781615303045. 
  55. ^ Rémi Brague, Assyrians Contributions To The Islamic Civilization. (Archived: 27 September 2013)
  56. ^ Clinton Bennett (2005). Muslims and Modernity: An Introduction to the Issues and Debates. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 163. ISBN 0-8264-5481-X. Retrieved 2012-07-07
  57. ^ H. Patrick Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World. Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 219.
  58. ^ Winkler, Dietmar (2009). Hidden Treasures And Intercultural Encounters: Studies On East Syriac Christianity In China And Central Asia. LIT Verlag Münster. 
  59. ^ Aboona, Hirmis (2008). Assyrians, Kurds, and Ottomans: intercommunal relations on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire. 
  60. ^ Khanbaghi, Aptin (2006). The fire, the star and the cross: minority religions in medieval and early modern Iran. I.B.Tauris. 
  61. ^ According to Georges Roux and Simo Parpola
  62. ^ "History of Ashur". Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  63. ^ David Gaunt, Massacres, resistance, protectors: Muslim-Christian relations in Eastern, pp. 32
  64. ^ Hirmis Aboona, Assyrians, Kurds, and Ottomans: intercommunal relations on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire, pp. 105
  65. ^ Khanbaghi, Aptin (2006). The fire, the star and the cross: minority religions in medieval and early modern Iran. I.B.Tauris. 
  66. ^ The Blackwell companion to Eastern Christianity, Kenneth Parry
  67. ^ George V. Yana (Bebla), "Myth vs. Reality," JAA Studies, Vol. XIV, No. 1, 2000 p. 80
  68. ^ Frazee, Charles A. (2006). Catholics and Sultans: The Church and the Ottoman Empire 1453–1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-521-02700-7. 
  69. ^ Aboona, H (2008). Assyrians, Kurds, and Ottomans: intercommunal relations on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire. Cambria Press. pp. 218–219. ISBN 978-1-60497-583-3. 
  70. ^ de Courtois, S (2004). The forgotten genocide: eastern Christians, the last Arameans. Gorgias Press LLC. pp. 105–107. ISBN 978-1-59333-077-4. 
  71. ^ Aboona, H (2008). Assyrians and Ottomans: intercommunal relations on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire. Cambria Press. pp. 218–219. ISBN 978-1-60497-583-3.
  72. ^ The Plight of Religious Minorities: Can Religious Pluralism Survive? - Page 51 by United States Congress
  73. ^ The Armenian Genocide: Wartime Radicalization Or Premeditated Continuum – Page 272 edited by Richard Hovannisian
  74. ^ Not Even My Name: A True Story – Page 131 by Thea Halo
  75. ^ The Political Dictionary of Modern Middle East by Agnes G. Korbani
  76. ^ Len Dieghton, Blood Sweat and Tears
  77. ^ Zubaida, S (July 2000), "Contested nations: Iraq and the Assyrians" (PDF), Nations and Nationalism 6 (3): 363–382, doi:10.1111/j.1354-5078.2000.00363.x, retrieved 23 September 2011 
  78. ^ "Biography of His Holiness, The Assyrian Martyr, The Late Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII". Committee of the 50th Anniversary of the Patriarchate of Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  79. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Refworld – Iraq: Information on treatment of Assyrian and Chaldean Christians". Refworld. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  80. ^ "زوعا". Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  81. ^ The Anfal Offensives,
  82. ^ Certrez, Donabed, and Makko (2012). The Assyrian Heritage: Threads of Continuity and Influence. Uppsala University. pp. 288–289. ISBN 978-91-554-8303-6. 
  83. ^ "Exodus of Christians hits Baghdad district". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  84. ^ "Church Bombings in Iraq Since 2004". Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  85. ^ Syriacs establish military council in Syria, Hürriyet Daily News, 2 February 2013
  86. ^ *SOC News report, He was documenting life in the Tur Abdin, where about 3,000 members of the Aramean minority still live.
  87. ^ Statement on Assyrians/Syriacs in Turkey/Iraq
  88. ^ This History of the Medieval World by Susan Wise Bauer, pg. 85-87
  89. ^ A Short World History of Christianity by Robert Bruce Mullin, pp. 82-85
  90. ^ "Nestorian (Christian sect)". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  91. ^ "Assyria". Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  92. ^ "Syriac-Aramaic People (Syria)". Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  93. ^ a b Classical Syriac and the Syriac Churches: A Twentieth-Century History, Heleen Murre-van den Berg, p. 127
  94. ^ "Note on the Modern Assyrians, & Other Nationalistic Issues". 
  95. ^ Jonathan Eric Lewis. "Iraqi Assyrians: Barometer of Pluralism". Middle East Forum. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  96. ^ "Arab American Institute Still Deliberately Claiming Assyrians Are Arabs". Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  97. ^ "In Court, Saddam Criticizes Kurdish Treatment of Assyrians". Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  98. ^ a b c Al-Monitor: Ethnic dimension of Iraqi Assyrians often ignored
  99. ^ "Eastern Churches", Catholic Encyclopedia, see "Eastern Syrians" and "Western Syrians" respectively. Modern terminology within the group is Western Assyrians and Eastern Assyrians respectively, while those who reject the Assyrian identity opt for Syriac or Aramean rather than Assyrian.
  100. ^ Ethno-Cultural and Religious Identity of Syrian Orthodox Christians, Sargon Donabed and Shamiran Mako, p. 75 [8]
  101. ^ Joshua Castellino, Kathleen A. Cavanaugh, Minority Rights in the Middle East, p. 109 [9]
  102. ^ "אנחנו לא ערבים - אנחנו ארמים" (in Hebrew). Israel HaYom. 9 August 2013. 
  103. ^ "Inscription From 800 BC Shows the Origin of the Name 'Syria'". 2007-02-18. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  104. ^ Frye, R. N. (October 1992). "Assyria and Syria: Synonyms" (PDF). Journal of Near Eastern Studies 51 (4): 281–285. doi:10.1086/373570.  pp. 281–285
  105. ^ Rollinger, Robert (2006). "The terms "Assyria" and "Syria" again" (PDF). Journal of Near Eastern Studies 65 (4): 283–287. doi:10.1086/511103. 
  106. ^ Festschrift Philologica Constantino Tsereteli Dicta, ed. Silvio Zaorani (Turin, 1993), pp. 106–107
  107. ^ Rudolf Macuch, Geschichte der spät- und neusyrischen Literatur, New York: de Gruyter, 1976.
  108. ^ Tsereteli, Sovremennyj assirijskij jazyk, Moscow: Nauka, 1964.
  109. ^ Tekoglu, R. & Lemaire, A. (2000). La bilingue royale louvito-phénicienne de Çineköy. Comptes rendus de l’Académie des inscriptions, et belleslettres, année 2000, 960–1006.
  110. ^ Rollinger, Robert (2006). "The terms "Assyria" and "Syria" again" (PDF). Journal of Near Eastern Studies 65 (4): 284–287. doi:10.1086/511103. 
  111. ^
  112. ^ The Assyrian New Year
  113. ^ Chamberlain, AF. "Notes on Some Aspects of the Folk-Psychology of Night". American Journal of Psychology, 1908 – JSTOR.
  115. ^ "Microsoft Word – PeshittaNewTestament.doc" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-16. [dead link]
  116. ^ Bae, C. Aramaic as a Lingua Franca During the Persian Empire (538–333 BCE). Journal of Universal Language. March 2004, 1–20.
  117. ^ Aramaic Documents of the Fifth Century B. C. by G. R. Driver
  118. ^ Akkadian Words in Modern Assyrian
  119. ^ Kaufman, Stephen A. (1974),The Akkadian influences on Aramaic. University of Chicago Press
  120. ^ a b Avenery, Iddo, The Aramaic Dialect of the Jews of Zakho. The Israel academy of Science and Humanities 1988.
  121. ^ Khan, Geoffrey (1999). A Grammar of Neo-Aramaic: the dialect of the Jews of Arbel. Leiden: EJ Brill.
  122. ^ Maclean, Arthur John (1895). Grammar of the dialects of vernacular Syriac: as spoken by the Eastern Syrians of Kurdistan, north-west Persia, and the Plain of Mosul: with notices of the vernacular of the Jews of Azerbaijan and of Zakhu near Mosul. Cambridge University Press, London.
  123. ^ Heinrichs, Wolfhart (ed.) (1990). Studies in Neo-Aramaic. Scholars Press: Atlanta, Georgia. ISBN 1-55540-430-8.
  124. ^ Tezel, Aziz (2003). Comparative Etymological Studies in the Western Neo-Syriac (Ṭūrōyo) Lexicon: with special reference to homonyms, related words and borrowings with cultural signification. Uppsala Universitet. ISBN 91-554-5555-7.
  125. ^ A Statue from Syria with Assyrian and Aramaic Inscriptions
  126. ^ "". Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  127. ^ J. Martin Bailey, Betty Jane Bailey, Who Are the Christians in the Middle East? p. 163: "more than two thirds" out of "nearly a million" Christians in Iraq.
  128. ^ "". 
  129. ^ The Date of Easter. Article from United States Naval Observatory (March 27, 2007).
  130. ^ AUA Release March 26, 2006.
  131. ^ "Three Day Fast of Nineveh". Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  132. ^ a b "Assyrian Festivals and Events in Iran", Encyclopædia Iranica
  133. ^ a b Dr. Joel J. Elias, Emeritus, University of California, The Genetics of Modern Assyrians and their Relationship to Other People of the Middle East
  134. ^ M.T. Akbari, Sunder S. Papiha, D.F. Roberts, and Daryoush D. Farhud, "Genetic Differentiation among Iranian Christian Communities," American Journal of Human Genetics 38 (1986): 84–98
  135. ^ Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi Luca; Menozzi, Paolo; Piazza, Alberto. The History and Geography of Human Genes. p. 243. 
  136. ^ Yepiskoposian et al., Iran and the Caucasus, Volume 10, Number 2, 2006, pp. 191-208(18), "Genetic Testing of Language Replacement Hypothesis in Southwest Asia"
  137. ^ Banoei et al., Human Biology. February 2008, v. 80, no, I, pp. 73-81., "Variation of DAT1 VNTR alleles and genotypes among old ethnic groups in Mesopotamia to the Oxus region""The relationship probability was lowest between Assyrians and other communities. Endogamy was found to be high for this population through determination of the heterogeneity coefficient (+0,6867), Our study supports earlier findings indicating the relatively closed nature of the Assyrian community as a whole, which as a result of their religious and cultural traditions, have had little intermixture with other populations."
  138. ^ Al-Zahery et al., BMC Evolutionary Biology 2011, 11:288, "In search of the genetic footprints of Sumerians: a survey of Y-chromosome and mtDNA variation in the Marsh Arabs of Iraq""In the less frequent J1-M267* clade, only marginally affected by events of expansion, Marsh Arabs shared haplotypes with other Iraqi and Assyrian samples, supporting a common local background."
  139. ^ "Cavalli-Sforza et al. Genetic tree of West Asia". Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  140. ^ a b Al-Zahery; et al. (Oct 2011). "In search of the genetic footprints of Sumerians: a survey of Y-chromosome and mtDNA variation in the Marsh Arabs of Iraq" (PDF). BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 288. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-288. PMC 3215667. PMID 21970613. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  141. ^ Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paolo Menozzi, Alberto Piazza, The History and Geography of Human Genes, p. 243
  142. ^ Kjeilen, Tore. "Assyrians". LookLex Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  143. ^ Kjeilen, Tore. "Iraq / Peoples". LookLex Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 

Further reading

External links