Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/14/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A greater number of Christian soldiers are joining with Assad as Islamist rebels threaten Christian communities.

Syrian Christians are starting to align with the regime of Bashar al Assad as extremist rebels form an increasing number of the anti-regime fighters. Worried about their churches and homes, Christians are organizing into volunteer units and fighting alongside the regular Syrian army. There is a sense of stalemate and a need for negotiation to end the conflict.

A church tower riddled with bullet holes. Christians are finding it harder to remain neutral as jihadists close in.

A church tower riddled with bullet holes. Christians are finding it harder to remain neutral as jihadists close in.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/14/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Syria, Christians, soldiers, al qaeda, jihadists, Islam, Assad


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - France 24 carried the story late last week of "John" a Christian fighting in Assad's forces. John was interviewed by the agency who wanted to know why Christians, originally neutral in the conflict, have started to gravitate towards the Assad regime.

Christians are a major minority in Syria making about 5 percent of the population. A few have sided with the rebels, however the majority have tried to remain neutral, worried that an unfavorable outcome could bring post-war repercussions.

While Christians may not be major supporters of the Assad regime, they distrust the jihadists whose publicly stated goal is to turn Syria into an Islamic state with conversion to Islam made compulsory.

To accomplish their mission, jihadist fighters have targeted clergy, ransacked churches and shrines, and killed some Christians in their efforts to terrorize Christian enclaves into submission. The Free Syrian Army, that arm of the rebels recognized by the United States and its allies does not endorse the tactics of the jihadists, and has on some occasions actually clashed with them. However, the Syrian uprising is hugely dependent on the influx of al Qaeda-linked fighters and cannot continue without them.

The jihadists have been largely successful in hijacking the rebellion.

This leaves Christians with a shrinking choice, which is to reluctantly join regime forces in an effort to defend their communities against the jihadist threat.

John told France 24, "I tried to encourage the men from my village and nearby villages to join up as well. But they weren't very receptive, as they didn't feel concerned by what was going on. All the while, an increasingly large number of Lebanese and Palestinian Jihadists were crossing the border to come support the rebels. From week to week, the number of kidnappings and attacks against civilians was increasing rapidly. All the inhabitants of the region, whether Christian or Muslim, could clearly see that criminals were taking advantage of the reigning chaos to loot and kidnap innocent people. This ended up pushing many of our young men to join the ranks of the National Defense Committees."

John added that many prominent local religious leaders were "reticent" to support the Christian reinforcement of Assad's army, but they all recognize the threat posed by the al Qaeda linked fighters.

There is a growing sense that the conflict cannot be resolved by fighting so the incentive to negotiate is strong. However, al Qaeda-backed fighters have little desire to negotiate and they often undermine ceasefires. The rebel forces are receiving arms and supplies, especially the jihadists with their own, independent supply networks.

With no end to the conflict in sight, more Christians are taking Assad's side in an effort to stem the slowly rising tide of jihadists arrayed against them.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


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.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Middle East

Muslim migrants arrested for throwing Christians off vessel, victims feared dead Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fifteen Muslim migrants from Sicily were arrested after being accused of throwing 12 Christians overboard as they cross from Libya to Italy last Wednesday. According to the Palermo police, they detained the suspected perpetrators, while the victims are feared to be ... continue reading


Israeli Prime Minister warns of second Holocaust in memorial speech Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During his speech at a Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem for a commemorative event, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared Israel's current state with the operations of Washington to that of the time of Hitler. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic ... continue reading


Israeli Jews remember Holocaust in remarkable way on 70th anniversary of Nazi death camp liberation (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People all across Israel came to a complete standstill for two-minutes to mark the Holocaust memorial day. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As sirens wailed across the country, the silence was echoing. Playgrounds, road traffic and beaches all came to a complete ... continue reading


Dead Sea dying as the River Jordan dries up Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Dead Sea, the famed Biblical body of water tread by prophets and kings, is increasingly endangered by enormous sinkholes. Coupled with the fact that the River Jordan is evaporation the Dead Sea could be literally - dying. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Muslim woman fights against odds to reform Muslim women's marginalization Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an attempt to clear misunderstanding after being branded as an ally of "Islamophobic speakers," Asra Normani was allowed to give a speech at the Duke University in North Carolina this Tuesday. The former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal said that her ... continue reading


'Mom! Dad! Jihadi John is going to slaughter me!' cartoon Obama cries before being beheaded in video Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a sick, crudely produced cartoon, U.S. President Barack Obama is shown being beheaded by masked figure identified as the infamous Islamist State executioner "Jihadi John." Obama is seen crying for his life before being beheaded by the cartoon figure. LOS ... continue reading


13-year-old Syrian girl gunned down by ISIS snipers while trying to flee terrorized refugee camp Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A teenage girl was shot and killed by the ISIS snipers last week, April 7. Identified as Zeynab Daghastani, the 13-year-old refugee tried to escape the Yarmouk Camp in Damascus, which was held by the militants, to go to the ISIS-free nearby neighborhood, Yalda, ... continue reading


Nine-year-old girl impregnated after Islamic State gang rape Watch

Image of Around 40,000 people had been kidnapped at gunpoint when Islamic State fighters attacked Yazidi villages last summer. Hundreds have returned, either by fleeing or being set free by ISIS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In one of its countless crimes against humanity, a nine-year-old Yazidi girl is pregnant, after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of Islamic State militants in northern Iraq. The girl, released after nearly a year as a prisoner kept as a "sex slaves." LOS ... continue reading


ISIS executes ten doctors for refusing treatment to wounded members Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ISIS has brutally executed ten doctors for refusing to treat the wounded militants of the organization. Al-Sumaria satellite television network reported that the doctors were shot in the head due to the refusal, saying that they do not support the activities of the ... continue reading


Increasing number of Jerusalem tourists report mental illness causing them to believe they are characters from the Bible Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Characterized by believing they are Biblical characters in the city of Jerusalem, thousands of pilgrims are said to be suffering from a mental condition and the number of inflicted is increasing. The so-called Jerusalem syndrome was first identified by psychologists in ... 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, Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
13 It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
2 Children of men, how long will you be heavy of ... Read More

Reading 2, First John 2:1-5
1 My children, I am writing this to prevent you from ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2015 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... 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