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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes’ Meeting with Assyrian Christian Bishops

Today, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes met with Bishops Mar Awa Royel and Mar Paulus Benjamin of the Assyrian Church of the East.  The Bishops briefed Mr. Rhodes on the challenges facing Christian communities in Syria and Iraq and on the current situation along the Khabur River in northeastern Syria, where over the past two weeks ISIL has attacked predominantly Assyrian Christian villages, displacing several thousand people and taking hundreds of civilians hostage.  Mr. Rhodes strongly condemned ISIL’s targeting of vulnerable religious populations in the Middle East, including Syrian Christians.  He also outlined steps that the Administration has taken and will continue to take to protect and support civilians impacted by ISIL’s terror, and reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to support the Assyrian Christian community and to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.