Syrian Islamists raid Aramaic-speaking Christian town of Sednaya: report

Jessica Chasmar -The Washington Times

September 2013

Weeks after al-Qaeda-linked rebels seized the Christian town of  Maaloula in  northwest Syria, they now have captured Sednaya, an  Aramaic-speaking village to  the north of Damascus.

Known for its large presence of Christian churches and monasteries,  the  village is under constant threat of Islamist militias from Yabroud  and the  Lebanese mountains, the Vatican news agency Fides reported.

“This is banditry,” a religious-order priest who wished to remain  anonymous  told Fides. “But it is also a vendetta against Christians. We  would not want to  give a meaning to these acts of religious persecution,  but they are targeted  attacks that have the effect of creating  confusion and fear among  civilians.”

A Catholic man reportedly was killed and another wounded during a  raid  Monday, a new tactic by armed gangs meant to create terror among  the civilian  population, Fides reported.

“Today, the people of Sednaya are afraid of having the same fate as  Maaloula,” the priest added.

Civilians from Maaloula have formed a committee in Damascus.

“We appeal strongly to the international community,” a representative  told  Fides. “Nobody helps us, Islamic radicalism is becoming more  discriminatory. We  feel unprotected. No one does anything to prevent  these human right abuses: we  ask the UN Commission in Geneva to  intervene.”

Smaller committees are cropping up all over Syria aimed at preventing   violence. This is what is happening, for example, in the so-called  “Valley of  the Christians” in western Syria, where there are more than  50 Christian  villages. More than 200,000 refugees have been added to the  area, Fides  reported, but even these villages suffer attacks by  militants.