Nearly three weeks ago, rebels from al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra attacked the Syrian Christian village of Maaloula, seizing a hotel on a hilltop and using it as a base to shell the villagers below and eventually taking the town outright. Several failed military pushes later, parts of the town have been reclaimed, but al-Nusra is still at the hotel.
Most of the tiny village’s population fled when the attacks began, but a number of civilians fled to a convent on the outskirts of town, where nuns take care of orphans. It was never intended to be a long-term solution.
But roughly 40 civilians, including many of the orphans, are still stuck in the convent, with supplies dwindling and a looming humanitarian crisis, they have been appealing to Christians elsewhere in Syria for relief.
That’s going to be tough going, however, since Christians throughout Syria are taking the ongoing civil war particularly hard, stuck between an Assad government that has historically tolerated them, more or less, and Islamist-dominated rebels that see that tolerance as evidence of complicity, and aim to wipe them out.
Tiny towns like Maaloula are mostly off the beaten path in Syria. The villagers there still speak Aramaic, not Syrian Arabic, and beyond a tiny army post inside the village, which was burned almost immediately when al-Nusra attacked, there is little reason why the village would be of interest at all to al-Qaeda.
A statement from an alleged commander of al-Nusra promised to withdraw from the village if the Christians promised to keep the military from returning, but the village of a couple thousand people can’t realistically keep any fighting force out, and so al-Nusra has remained, leaving the villagers stuck in the middle of a civil war.
10 thoughts on “As Islamist Occupation Continues, Syrian Christians Remain Trapped”
Al Nusra or Al Queada, or Al shahab they are all related to what is Saudi Arabia and UAE, since they were used in Afghanistan war, now they are grown to what they are today. These elements are the last resort for USG, the Saudis and UAE demolishing the growth of functioning democracy in the region and in Africa. As they are used in Syria and were used in Libya.
" an Assad government that has historically tolerated them, more or less "
What is that supposed to mean? The Syrian government has never discriminated against minorities. I know that AW bends over backwards not to give any kudos at all to Assad but that's an aspersion too far.
It is tiresome, I agree. As if we do not know that US has been pressuring Syrian Christians to support the "revolution" and condemn "Assad". How many "spokespeople" for the "revolution" employed by the war machine urged Christians to support the overthrow? Maaloula IS not significant, except as a MESSAGE TO CHRISTIANS TO STOP SUPPORTING ASSAD, or else they will all be killed. Assad's Syria was an example to the Middle East of how a tolerant society lived. And the most intolerant of them all, Saudi-designed and paid Salafis, collected from various "successfull" missions like Libya, have been then branded by the West as the model of revolutionary, righteous people. What a sick, sick world we live in. Christians, Sunni, Kurds — all are volunteering in Assad's Army, as the young men do not want to wait for the "revolutionaries" to take over their village and start mass beheadings. Most places are now left with old men, women and children. Does it stop the "Free" Syrian Army to jointly work with all other Salafi thugs in the siege of Maaloula? Of course not.
"an Assad government that has historically tolerated them, more or less"
Ditz enthusiastically jumps on the latest Anglo-American trend: Claim whatever you want without any shred of evidence until it stick´s and on his own platform here at AW it just might.
Syria is a secular society, Christians aren´t just "tolerated" they (as well as druz and others) enjoys the highest post in the government and the Baath party and the only one´s that is NOT tolerated entirely are violent and US/Wahhabi funded sects such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and it´s hangarounds but those happens to be the "freedom fighters" Ditz presumably prefers to run Syria, a country he seems to have little or no knowledge about aside from the "info" FOX & CNN provides…
"the 'freedom fighters' Ditz presumably prefers to run Syria"
Given that Ditz has never given any indication whatsoever that he wants the rebels to run Syria, you apparently think the definition of "presumably" is "whatever silly stuff I decide to make up out of thin air."
In all fairness to Jason Dietz, his coverage of Syria is still among the best if not the best. But every now and then, the war machine propaganda, along with the thousands of the NGOs and spokespeople for the machine — get to him. Syrian Christians have always been the most respected citizens of that country. Sunni majority, mosly urban, higly educated, and among the wealthiest population, as well as Shiia minority — are just like Christians part of the old, historic core of the society. Syria has changed dramatically since the invasion of Iraq. Millions of refugees — Sunnis — have flooded the country, living in tough conditions, competing for jobs with Syrians. This caused social divisions. Most of Sunni Iraqis have been radicalized, accepting Salafism, and Saudi help. Along with the rice, sugar and oil, came religious leaders, preaching revolution against Shiia, the perrenial target of Wahhabi insanity ruling in Saudi Arabia. But majority Iraqis do not want war, and many are going back home to Iraq, or into refugee around the region.
Too bad these are the wrong kind of Christians for those 'Christian' evangelical Armageddonites who are supporting the Al Qaeda rebels and ranting for Obombya to flatten what's left with cruise missles. What an effed-up world.
Once again it's the "freedom fighters" that Uncle Sam promotes that bring hell on earth to even orphans while creating new orphans daily.
Wow and I bet no one in the Judeo-Christian world even cares, as they have been conditioned not to care…even to root for their demise, as Christianity is only so great as in how much good it does Israel: Orphans, nuns, infants, the crippled, sick, the elderly…all considered collateral damage on the battlefields for Greater Israel. How convenient for Saudi Arabia, getting rid of the jihadis who can cause problems for them and their monarchical religious dictatorship at home, putting them to use hurting other innocents abroad.
I hope Prince Bandar Bush is hit by a missile and his "Royal" family of creeps, pedophiles and spoiled bastards accidentally eat the pieces left over.
One of Assads greatest crimes has been allowing these non-Musslims to prosper and be free in his country. The American backed Al-Qaeda freedom fighters will put an end to that abomination and bring the glory of Shiria law to the currupt and evil country of Syria. May the coming Islamic empire thrive in the Middle East until we can finally bring Sharia justice to the shores of America, which Allah has blessed now that we have realized the righteousness of Al-Qaeda as the saviors of the world. Allah bless America.
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