A disturbing new report has revealed Muslim extremists tortured and repeatedly raped a Christian woman for over nine hours before stoning her to death in the Syrian province of Idlib.
According to persecution watchdog International Concern, Suzan Der Kirkour was found dead on July 9 outside her village, al-Yaqoubiyeh, which is located just north of the jihadist stronghold of Jisr Al-Shughour.
An autopsy report found that the 60-year-old gardener and Arabic teacher, was tortured and raped over the span of nine hours before being stoned to death.
The incident was confirmed by humanitarian organization SOS Chrétien’s d’Orient, which wrote in a statement that “cruel was her ordeal. The reality is just as much… (a) virgin at sixty, she died under the repeated assaults of the jihadists of al-Nusra.”
“The autopsy reveals that Suzan had been subjected to repeated rape since the afternoon of Monday (the 8th) until early Tuesday morning, only hours before her discovery. As a martyr, she is joined in Heaven by thousands of Christian brothers, who died in the arena of barbarism,” continued the statement.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the incident: “Her body was found with marks of torture on it. And according to forensic medicine, the woman had been tortured for about 9 hours before she was stoned to death by unidentified persons,” read the report.
The attackers are believed to be members of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, formerly affiliated with al Qaeda, which maintains a strong presence in the Idlib governorate, according to Christian Post.
Al-Yaqoubiyeh is a Christian village, but most of the women have left because of ongoing persecution at the hands of Muslim extremists. Suzan was one of the few Christians still living in the jihadist-held areas in northern Syria.
Claire Evans, ICC’s regional manager for the Middle East, condemned the killing and called her untimely death and the manner of her murder “horrifying.”
“It further deepens the shadow which has fallen upon any Christians who have remained in Syria throughout nearly a decade of violent conflict,” she said. “Rule of law, justice, and accountability must be restored in Syria. Otherwise, we are witness to the slow, but fierce, extermination of Christianity from a country where it has existed for over 2,000 years.”
Syria ranks 11th on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
Syria is notorious for the violence against Christians, both under ISIS and after its fall. Persecution for Syrian Christians, who are few in number, continues to cause fear. The situation for Christians has not improved in recent years according to USCIRF, who have designated it as a Country of Particular Concern.