Magazine August 26, 2019, Issue

The Syriac Christian Renaissance

Syriac Christians pray in the Syrian-Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli, April 21. (Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)
A civil war, a revival of language and culture, an uncertain future

In Syria’s northeast, in Qamishli, al-Hasakah, and other cities and their surrounding villages, a renaissance is under way in the area’s beleaguered Syriac Christian community, which is attempting to revive the Syriac language and culture after decades of neglect and oppression. Syria’s Christian community as a whole has suffered immensely during the ongoing eight-year conflict, and the country’s Syriac minority is no exception. The conflict has, however, also brought about social changes that previously would have been thought impossible, particularly in areas under control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Escalating its threat to invade the area despite the

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