Monday, April 10, 2017

Report: 40,000 Pro-Assad Christians in Aleppo Fear Return of Rebels - by Edwin MORA

The estimated 40,000 Christians in Aleppo are not among the civilians who are dreading the fall of the city to the Russia and Iran-backed regime of dictator Bashar al Assad, according to a charity group that helps persecuted Christians.
These Christians instead reportedly fear the return of the rebels to Aleppo, particularly the jihadi coalition known as Jaish Al Fatah, or ‘Army of Conquest,’ that includes the likes of the Syrian al-Qaeda branch formerly known as the Nusra Front before it became Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Front for the Conquest of the Levant).
Jaish Al Fatah has been “heavily involved” in the battle for Aleppo and the persecution of Christians in the city, claims the charity group Barnabas Fund.
Until recently, Aleppo city had been roughly divided between Assad regime control in the west and rebel control in the east since 2012.
The Russian government and the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which uses a network of ground sources to monitor the ongoing civil war in Syria, have declared that the Assad regime is now in control of Aleppo.
Russian-backed Assad forces and their Iranian-allied counterparts operating on the ground have been accused of “genocide” against civilians in the former rebel stronghold of eastern Aleppo.
Nevertheless, the Barnabas Fund reports:
Christians fled the persecution that the rebel fighters brought to that area [eastern Aleppo] of the city long ago. On Saturday (6 August) rebel forces succeeded in breaking the Syrian army’s stranglehold on the main supply route into Aleppo, but as a result the bombing has only intensified.
The Christians now have to face a new fear: that Islamist rebels will gain ground and they will again find themselves in rebel-held territory, where they will become targets, both for their faith and their support of the Syrian government.
Christians and Muslims in the Middle East lived peacefully with each other for hundreds of years. However, when jihadist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda invaded Iraq and Syria in 2014, the terrorists ordered Christians to either leave, convert, or pay a subjugation tax.
ISIS has been accused of carrying out genocide against the Christians and other ethno-religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
“It is like going back 1,000 years seeing the barbarity that Christians are having to live under. I think we are dealing with a group which makes Nazism pale in comparison and I think they have lost all respect for human life,” explained Patrick Sookhdeo, founder of Barnabas Fund in 2015. “Crucifying these people is sending a message and they are using forms of killing which they believe have been sanctioned by Sharia law. For them what they are doing is perfectly normal and they don’t see a problem with it. It is that religious justification which is so appalling.”
“We are facing terrorist action in the whole geography of Syria,” Rev. Ibrahim Nseir, pastor of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon and the Presbyterian Church in Aleppo, told Fox News from the ISIS de-facto Syrian capital of Raqqa in May. “They are destroying our churches, killing and kidnapping Christians, stealing our homes and our businesses.”
Iraq and Syria are considered the cradle of human civilization and the Christian faith.
“It was on the road to Damascus that the Apostle Paul experienced his conversion to Christianity, and Syria remains one of the few sacred locales where the language of Aramaic – the language of Jesus – can still be heard,” noted Fox News.
“In the 1920s, Christians — mainly Greek Catholic and Greek Orthodox — made up nearly a third of the Syrian population,” it added. “By the time civil war erupted in 2011, Christians in Syria numbered just 2.2 million, or less than 10 percent of the nation’s population. Experts now estimate that the Christians make up less than five percent of the population.”
After crumbling earlier in the day, a shaky ceasefire between the Syrian regime and rebels in war-torn Aleppo had reportedly begun to take hold again late Wednesday.
Civilians pleaded for help when the Syrian regime airstrikes resumed after the truce fell apart, imploring the international community to put an end to the carnage.
Iran’s proxies on the ground, which include the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah from Lebanon, have been accused of violating the ceasefire and carrying out execution-style massacres of civilians, including women and children, points out the Guardian.
The news outlet acknowledges that it remains unclear whether Iran is onboard with the new agreement.