The airstrikes and artillery bombardments had barely begun in the Syrian city of Qamishli, just across the border from Turkey, when Bassam Ishak's cellphone began ringing.
"People were so scared," Ishak said. "They were telling me, 'They are bombing us right now!' "
Ishak, a Syriac Christian leader, was in Irbil, Iraq, monitoring developments along the Syria-Turkey border.