Michael Carl - 16/2/13
Human-rights activists say the situation for Christians in Syria is growing more intense and that the ever-shrinking Christian population is near the breaking point.
Middle East Forum fellow and analyst Raymond Ibrahim is one who holds that opinion, and adds U.S. support for the rebels is the major reason for Christians fleeing Syria.
“In Syria, again in the name of democracy, the U.S. is supporting jihadis who are eradicating the nation’s Christians,” Ibrahim said. “U.S.-backed freedom-fighters are driving away Syria’s indigenous Christians.”
Which, he said, leaves Christians few options.
“Christians in the Middle East are running out of places to survive,” Ibrahim said.
Syria’s Christians have also been the victims of inhumane violence. Ibrahim says one example was an incident involving a Christian cab driver.
Ibrahim cites a report that said rebels kidnapped and killed the cab driver, then fed his body to dogs.
One press report quoted a nun working inside Syria.
She said taxi driver Andrei Arbashe, 38, was kidnapped after his brother was heard complaining that fighters against the ruling regime behaved like bandits.
The nun said the headless corpse was found by the side of the road, surrounded by hungry dogs. She said he recently had married and was soon to be a father.
A Syrian Christian who lives in the U. S. but who still has family in Syria says that his relatives believe the situation with Syria’s Christians can’t go on much longer.
“Most seem to think things are coming to a climax,” said the Syrian, whose identity is not being reported.
He adds that a family friend was recently set free after being taken by kidnappers.
“My wife’s family friend was recently released from kidnappers alive and semi-well, a little beaten up and poorer,” the Syrian Christian said. “He would almost certainly say the kidnappers were Islamists.”
He continued, “The general gist of it all is that the rebels seek Christian areas to facilitate a government response in those areas.”
Ibrahim says that some Christians in Syria are there because they fled Iraq.
“Ironically, many Christian Iraqis had fled to Syria, due to the religious tolerance enjoyed under the secularist Assad,”” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim said Syria’s Christians now are mirroring the experience of Iraq’s Christians.
“The experiences of Syria’s Christians are identical to the experiences of Iraq’s Christians: after the U.S. deposed strongman Saddam Hussein, the jihad, which Saddam had long suppressed, was unloosed, seeing after nearly a decade the complete eradication of Iraq’s Christian population,” Ibrahim said.
WND reported in December that many of Iraq’s Christians who escaped to Syria to avoid persecution now are going home.
Christian Solidarity International USA President John Eibner, who recently returned from Iraq, couldn’t estimate the number of two-time refugees, but pointed to a report compiled by a special United Nations group that determined the Syrian civil war is now largely “sectarian.”
“Entire communities are at risk of being forced out of the country or of being killed inside the country,” he said.
He said there’s a term for that: genocide.
Michael Carl is a veteran journalist with overseas military experience and experience as a political consultant. He also has two Master’s Degrees, is a bi-vocational pastor and lives with his family in the Northeast United States.