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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Middle East

Refugee boy beaten for selling tissues at Turkish restaurant galvanizes nation Watch

Image of Ahmet's story is one of millions of Syrians. Forced to flee to Turkey because of his homeland's civil war, his family lives in a two-bedroom apartment without electricity and running water.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was a shocking incident that drew attention to the plight of millions of refugees living in host countries. Thirteen-year-old Ahmet Hamdo, whose large Syrian family fled the war-torn town of Aleppo, was beaten mercilessly by a Turkish restaurant owner for selling ... continue reading


ISIS leader sentences a woman to be beheaded as wedding present to cruel female Sharia judge Watch

Image of [Photo By: Jamie Wiseman/ Mail Online]

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi personally sanctioned a women to be beheaded, as a wedding present to a brutal female "judge" in the terror group's feared religious police. The cruel woman asked to slaughter an unbelieving "infidel" in return for taking a new husband after the ... continue reading


Australian man anxious to fight against Islamic State - is detained and arrested Watch

Image of Jamie Reece Williams was in court in Melbourne after counter-terrorism officers charged him with preparing to enter a foreign country with the intention of engaging in hostile activities.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Australian authorities have clamped down a misguided attempt at heroism. Jamie Reece Williams, from suburban Melbourne was arrested after he allegedly try to fly to northern Iraq to join Kurdish forces battling Islamic State. It remains illegal for any Australian to ... continue reading


YOU WILL NOT TAKE MY HEAD! - Notorious ISIS executioner 'Jihadi John' now on the run from his former bosses Watch

Image of There are rumors that Jihadi John had been moved by ISIS to Libya, where he supposedly attended a terror training camp with Sousse gunman Seifeddine Rezgui.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

He was at one time the most visible and dreaded figure in the Islamic State terror group . now, "Jihadi John" has fled for his life, afraid that his ISIS overlords were planning to kill him with as much leniency mercy as he did captive journalists. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


ISIS executes two homosexuals by pushing them off the roof (WARNING: Graphic Content) Watch

Image of The unidentified male victims were sadistically dangled over the side of the building before being pushed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what appears to be their favored method of execution for those accused of homosexuality, ISIS agents tied the hands of two men behind their back and then pushed them off a rooftop to their deaths in Homs, Syria. The jihadis blindfold the men before standing ... continue reading


Catholic relief Services roll up their sleeves to help rebuild Gaza Watch

Image of Reconstruction efforts in Gaza are complicated by the Israeli blockade.

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

One year after an outbreak of violence between the Israeli military and Hamas militants in Gaza, Catholic Relief Services is helping conflict victims to find new homes. Gaza City (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's hard to believe it's been a year already. Unfortunately, it ... continue reading


The Cubs of the Caliphate take over: ISIS cub executes Iraqi 'spy' in latest horrific propaganda video (WARNING: Graphic Content) Watch

Image of The young ISIS soldier who shot an Iraqi spy at point blank.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ISIS has once again released another shocking video, this time featuring a young boy shooting an alleged Iraqi spy in the head, point blank. The child dressed in black from head-to-toe executes the man after he confesses he has been spying on ISIS in the Iraqi town of ... continue reading


Forced to chew a sandal! Captured ISIS killer ridiculed on TV by Iraqi media Watch

Image of Chewing a sandal is greatly insulting in Iraq.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An ISIS terrorist, accused of taking the lives of 60 unarmed Iraqi army soldiers, was forced to chew a sandal, an incredibly insulting act in the Arab world, as he appeared in front of news cameras in Iraq. In the Arab culture, simply showing the sole of your shoe is a ... continue reading


'Give me my weapon': ISIS releases disturbing video featuring 'the cubs of the Caliphate' directly speaking to the camera Watch

Image of Where are the suicide attackers?

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what is believed to be the first time ever, ISIS has released a propaganda video featuring the "cubs," some as young as three, as the primary speakers. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The latest video, released from the terrorist group's official media wing in ... continue reading


Turkish student activist dies in ISIS suicide bombing minutes after posting a selfie Watch

Image of Recent ISIS Bombing kills Turkish students minutes after sharing a Selfie.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Turkish student activist, Ezgi Saadet has died in a ISIS suicide bombing, along with 30 others, last Monday in Suruc - a town located at the Southern area of Turkey. Saadet posted a selfie with fellow student activists several minutes prior to the attack; the picture ... 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, Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28
7 Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13
6 Yahweh acts with uprightness, with justice to all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:35-43
35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2015 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... 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