Politics & Society
June Fri 01, 2012
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Syrian Christians are being used as human shields by the rebels in clashes with Assad’s Army. This is the accusation of Patriarch Gregory III Laham, the highest Catholic authority of Damascus, the Patriarch of Antioch, all of the East, Alexandria and Melkite Jerusalem. The Patriarch tells about nighttime kidnappings of the faithful of his diocese, with ransom payments of up to 200 thousand U.S. dollars, homes confiscated or blown up, and continuous incursions of armed Sunni Muslims in Catholic neighborhoods. During an interview with Ilsussidiario.net, Gregory III reveals the details of his last audience with Pope Benedict XVI, during which they spoke about the Syrian crisis. On the subject of the Houla massacre, he emphasizes: "That the government would do that is against logic. The artillery of the Army was outside the village, while the executions were perpetrated by someone inside".Patriarch Gregory III, can you tell us about the situation of Christians in Syria? Their situation is problematic for them not only as Christians but also as citizens in difficulty. The rebels come into their neighborhoods and make them flee their homes. This happened in Homs, Yabroud, Rabli and elsewhere in the Valley of the Christians. The result is a veritable exodus of Syrian Christians who no longer feel safe in their country.Who are the people who throw Christians out of their homes? They are Sunni Muslims belonging to the rebel factions, but often also terrorists or bandits. It must be said clearly: Syria is not the battleground for only the government and the opposition, but there is also a third element that aims to subvert the law. Christians are victims of the chaos in the country that was caused by the rebels.What do the "bandits" do after they have entered into Christian neighborhoods? Their mere presence is already an element of insecurity because it creates an atmosphere of terror. As soon as they settle in a place, they start fighting with the regular Army. The terrorists kill soldiers or officials, as has happened in Homs and in the villages around the city.Do the rebels attack the Christians?
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