On Monday, November 11, two cars and a rigged motorcycle exploded near a cafe and a church, according to a statement from the region’s security forces. The wounded included four security force members, it said, describing the blasts as a “terrorist operation.”
On the same day as the explosions, Hovsep Petoyan and his father were shot and killed by terrorists. Gunmen attacked a car known to be carrying the Christian leaders traveling from Qamishli to Deir Ezzor to oversee the restoration of a church there that had been sustained damage in the latest attacks on Syria, Hovsep was the head of the Catholic church in Qamishli. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the murders.
ISIS’s official Amaq media outlet reported, “Two Christian priests were killed today, ISIS shot them down.”
The attacks are “very tragic news,” says pastor George Moushi of the Alliance church in Qamishli. “[Hovsep] was a peaceful man who had problems with no one, he wasn’t even political,” George shares. “All this affects the stability and impacts the existence of Christians in this area.”
Below, watch video footage of the explosions recorded by a bystander in Qamishli and posted on Twitter:
This bystander caught the second explosion on camera while filming the aftermath of the first blast.
Qamishlo's Chaldean Catholic Church is visible as the target. It's one of eleven churches of seven denominations in the city, long a safe home for Christian minority groups. pic.twitter.com/GFcJVzFTy2
— Rojava Information Center (@RojavaIC) November 11, 2019