Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Jihadists are attempting to cleanse the region of Christians.

Syria's Christians are struggling ever more desperately as al Qaeda fighters launch a genocidal attacks against them amid that country's civil war. Although many are sympathetic to the revolution, they say the influx of jihadists is destroying the movement and Christianity in its ancient nursery.

A Syrian woman mourns as her town is razed by Islamist rebels.

A Syrian woman mourns as her town is razed by Islamist rebels.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Syria, Christians, persecution, al Qaeda, FSA, Turkey, Assad, refugees


ANKARA, TURKEY (Catholic Online) - Christians in Syria are under intense pressure to flee the country as fighters from both sides target them. Many are unwilling to side with Assad, but also feel increasingly threatened by jihadists which have bolstered the ranks of the Free Syrian Army.

The development isn't new, as Christians have been persecuted for some time amid the violence, but the intensity is becoming more pronounced as jihadists target Christians and their churches and shrines.

If Israel is the cradle of Christianity, Syria is its nursery. In the city of Damascus, followers of Jesus were for the first time referred to as Christians. Christians have a long presence in the state, which today hosts various Catholics including Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, and other smaller sects.

Christians did not generally join the uprising against Assad, having enjoyed a measure of tolerance under his regime. This reluctance to war has made them suspect to rebels. However, Christians have suffered widely under the depredations and indiscriminant killings of Assad's regime. In response, Christians formed a brigade in the Free Syrian Army.

Despite this, they're still seen as targets, primarily by jihadists who want Syria to become an Islamist state. For the jihadists, mostly affiliated with al Qaeda, Christians are a barrier to creating that state.

At the start of the conflict, Christians made up 10 percent of Syria's population. Today, that percentage is simply unknown. What is known is that a disproportionate number of Christians seem to have fled their homes, many into neighboring Turkey.

However, they're not exactly streaming into the refugee camps established for them. In fact, in a camp set up by the Turkish government, with a segregated section just for Christians, nobody resides. Christians won't enter the camp for fear of Islamic reprisals.

Instead, Christians are trying to live in the poor sections of Turkish cities, often in apartments and slums, afraid to go to the camps and afraid to return to Syria.

Most Muslims have no hostility towards the Christians, who in Syria have long enjoyed a good reputation as devout people who were easy to live beside. However, Christians are too afraid to take their chances with strangers, and thus their quiet reclusion, even in safety.

Across the border in Syria, stories continue to develop of Churches destroyed not by indiscriminate bombing and shelling by Assad's forces, but by jihadist rebels. Rebels are burning churches, icons, and on several occasions have martyred Christians there.

The growing awareness of jihadist extremism amid the rebels has likely stalled U.S. and other western support for the rebels as they fight what seems to be a slow, losing campaign against the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, Assad has turned the tide against the rebels, making gains with Russian, Iranian, and mercenary support.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Middle East

A miracle in the modern age! Conjoined twins successfully separated in Saudi Arabia Watch

Image of After nine hours in surgery, two Yemeni boys, who were born as conjoined twins, will be able to live normal lives.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After nine hours of surgery, two baby boys, born as conjoined twins, have a chance at living normal lives. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The two boys, from Yemen, were born connected at the torso, and shared both their large and small intestines, their genitals, ... continue reading


Young boy horrifically murdered on tape - surprisingly, NOT BY ISIS? (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT) Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A newly horrifying video, showing a nine-year-old boy being murdered by militia, has been publicly released. However, this video does not show ISIS militants as the perpetrators. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This graphic video, said to be filmed near Tikrit, ... continue reading


Was a girl really stoned to death for having a Facebook account? Watch

Image of Stones used in an execution are not to be too large or too small. They must be the right size to cause painful injury and eventually death, but not immediately. Suffering is part of the punishment and deterrent.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two weeks ago, the Islamic State stoned to death a Syrian girl for adultery, despite the fact she never touched another person. Her actual crime? Opening a Facebook account. The report is controversial however because it has not been confirmed by outside sources and ... continue reading


ISIS RELEASES 19 kidnapped Assyrian Christians but what about the other 200? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nineteen of the more than 200 Assyrian Christians kidnapped by ISIS in north-eastern Syria have been set free. Taken from their homes in February, the fate and whereabouts of the remaining Assyrian Christians is still unknown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those ... continue reading


Emails from a MADMAN: 'Jihadi John's' horrific emails to reporter reveal his instability Watch

Image of Mohammed Emwazi as a young lad -- unaware of the chill he would bring the world in his later years.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Jihadi John," the Islamist State terrorist connected to at least six executions of Western journalists broadcast online is now identified as former London resident Mohammed Emwazi. People who knew the elusive murderer are now coming forward with insights on ... continue reading


(WARNING: Graphic Photos) ISIS throws another 'gay' man off rooftop to die Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ISIS has, once again, resorted to throwing a man to his death off a high building. With a large crowd witnessing the procedures, the Islamic State carries out a guilty charge to a man accused of being a "child of lot." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to ... continue reading


Destroying culture: New Islamic State video shows priceless statues beheaded Watch

Image of The five-minute video shows men going at statue after statue, knocking them to the ground and destroying them with sledgehammers and jackhammers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In another atrocity perpetrated against world history and culture, members of Islamic State are shown destroying priceless works of art in a museum in Mosul, Iraq. Some statues are beheaded in the manner of IS' squirming victims. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


ISIS' leading man, the masked Jihadi John's true identity revealed Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The man behind the mask in brutal ISIS execution videos, known as Jihadi John, is assumed to be a British man named Mohammed Emwazi. Jihadi John appears in the beheading videos of American hostages, James Foley and Steven Sotloff and Britan hostages, Alan Henning and ... continue reading


Islamic State butchers 15 captured Christians, calls for Muslims to watch murder of 350 more Watch

Image of Islamic State fighters captured almost 400 Syrian Christians, and are reported to have executed 15.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New reports from Syria reveal that the Islamic State may have murdered 15 of the more than 300 Christians it had captured earlier this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Catholic humanitarian group, Aid to the Church in Need, issued a report that the 15 of ... continue reading


Saudi Arabian man sentenced to death after rebelliously tearing up copy of Koran Watch

Image of Protesters simulate a flogging in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC in protest against the 10-year prison sentence given to a blogger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saudi Arabia has long been a friend to the United States and its allies, a very important hedge against militant Islamist groups and nations in the Middle East. This alignment does have limits - Western diplomats are expected to address the kingdom's many human ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 17:5-10
5 Yahweh says this, 'Accursed be anyone who trusts in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 16:19-31
19 'There was a rich man who used to dress in purple ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 5th, 2015 Image

St. John Joseph of the Cross
March 5: St. John Joseph of the Cross was born about the middle of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter