11 October 2013

‘You can still see their blood’

Human Rights Watch has issued a report accusing the Syrian rebels (particularly those in ISIS, al-Nusra and the Ahrar al-Sham) of systematically slaughtering the Alawite communities in their 4 August assault on Latakia Province, in mass executions and indiscriminate shooting sprees, leaving (at latest count) over 190 dead, many in mass graves, with 200 more having been abducted and held hostage. These figures are as yet still incomplete. The rebels are no longer even pretending to give lip-service to continuity even with the demands of the early protests for democracy in Syria; these fanatical murderers are no longer even trying to cover the evil they are wreaking upon the Syrian people. Any claim they may once have made to being the legitimate voice of the Syrian opposition lies utterly discredited by their actions and by their calls to that action (however rapidly backpedalled). The idea that the rebels are in any way committed to peaceful living with their non-Sunni neighbours is now as phoney as a three-dollar bill (or Liz O’Bagy’s doctorate).

The Alawites and Shi’ites are not the only ones being targetted in Syria. The Christian community native to Syria has long been one of the main targets of ISIS in particular. When ISIS and al-Nusra occupied holy Maaloula, they turned it into a ghost town, driving all the Christians out and desecrating all of its churches and reliquaries. As the refugees continuously point out, this is the very cradle, the heartland and historical centre, of Christendom which is being torn asunder today.

Please pray for Syria and all of her people - Orthodox, Catholic, Alawite and Sunni alike! Please pray that peace once more comes to the Holy Land, and that the leaders of the world may be guided by God and his gifts of reason and compassion, to forge a diplomatic solution which respects all of her people. And please give generously and with discernment to those groups which are actively seeking to help Syrian refugees.

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