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(Agenzia Fides) – “US Senator John McCain protested saying that the Russians are not bombing the positions of the Islamic State, but rather the anti-Assad rebels trained by the CIA. I find these words are disturbing. They represent a blatant admission that behind the war against Assad there is also the CIA”. This is what Syrian Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo says to Agenzia Fides with regards to recent developments in the Syrian conflict, marked by the direct intervention of Russian military forces against the positions of the jihadi militias.
“Western propaganda”, said Archbishop Hindo “keeps talking about moderate rebels, who do not exist”. According to Syrian Catholic Archbishop, “there is something very disturbing about all this: there is a superpower that since September 11 protests because the Russians hit the militias of al-Qaeda in Syria. What does it mean? Al-Qaeda is now a US ally, just because in Syria it has a different name? But do they really despise our intelligence and our memory?”
In the interview with Fides, Archbishop Hindo repeats that “the Syrians will decide if and when Assad has to go away, and not the Daesh or the West. And it is certain that if Assad goes away now, Syria will become like Libya”. Syrian Archbishop launches a warning: “We have received terrible news from the city of Deir al Zor, which has been besieged by Daesh for a long time. There is no more food in town, and the population is literally starving. We need to do something immediately, before it is too late”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 02/10/2015)
Rebels Claim Assad Used Chlorine Gas Again: It’s Time To Hold The World Accountable For These Atrocities
Syria’s President Assad has been in the news again, accused of using Chlorine gas on innocent civilians yet again. Reuters is reporting that these new accusations came after Assad announced his bid to run for president in June. Also after his announcement there were 2 incidents of bombings one in Homs and the other in Damascus. Killing at least 50 people, including children. These areas are government held areas at the moment. I say at the moment because they were once held by rebels. According to our sources this is a game that has been played by both sides. The Government forces pulled out of Homs at one time and allowed a rebel takeover that killed a number of Christians. President Assad has protected Christians in the past, so these areas when given over to rebels saw a huge massacre of Christians and innocent civilians.
I have to question the accusation of Assad using Chemical weapons at this point. He has been under pressure to give up his arsenal, and he is under the microscope of the UN and other western powers. It is the general opinion of those from there, that Assad did not do this. I find it hard to believe as he just announced he is running again for President. And we know that the rebels have had access to chemical weapons plants, and we know that they have been aided by western governments militarily and financially. Turkey has even proven to aid the traffic of rebels into Syria from foreign lands. Coming into Syria for ‘Jihad’.
Assad has had his share of blood on his hands. He is a dictator in a brutal part of the world. And he has ties to Iran. However isn’t it time the world holds the rebels accountable and those countries that support them? It has been said that Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are aiding these rebels. I say it’s time the media and officials demand accountability and stop the shedding of innocent blood. It’s time to say enough. Pray for the people of Syria, pray for our brothers and sisters there. It was just recently that the rebels brutally murdered a priest.
A priest that was helping both sides. A priest that stood for peace and freedom. And that doesn’t include the thousands of Christians who have been slaughtered unmercilessly. We can’t forget the memory of those who have died in this brutal cleansing. And don’t forget the pictures of crucifixion mocking Jesus that are surfacing also. So the rebels who are spotless claim Assad used Chemical weapons and we should believe them why? Again, it’s time to demand accountability from our Government and other Western and Middle eastern governments.
Fox News and others are reporting that President Assad visited Maaloula on Sunday. This is a village that was attacked and many were slaughtered by rebels. We found it utterly amazing that it is reported that taking back this village from the Al-Queda affiliated rebels was a prize to the government. Assad said that he wants to protect Christians, and other religious minorities. We know Christians were afforded a certain amount of freedom and movement that they don’t have now. In one rebel held area, Christians have to pay a tax to the rebels, convert or die. Many media reports from the MSM about Syria are not accurate. We’ve all seen an realize that. Here’s an excerpt from Fox News:
President Bashar Assad on Sunday toured a historic Christian village his forces recently captured from rebels, state media said, as the country’s Greek Orthodox Patriarch vowed that Christians in the war-ravaged country “will not submit and yield” to extremists. Syrian state TV and the country’s official SANA news agency said Assad was in Maaloula, inspecting the damage done in recent fighting to its monasteries and churches.
What do the people of Syria say? Some say the media reports about Syria are wrong. Some say that Assad is actually correct in saying this is not a civil war, it’s terrorists. Some say that the Army and the rebels are both playing games. Others say that both sides are committing atrocities. When talking to those who have fled Syria, you get a different picture all together. While they tell us that Christians had better conditions under Assad, they also say the Government is to blame for the slaughter of Christians, by intentionally moving out of villages and allowing the rebels to take over. Thus causing the slaughter of Christians.
The Christians in these villages held by rebels have come to rely on the government there for protection. When they leave and allow rebel takeovers, many are killed. It raises the question, “Is this an intentional cleansing of Christians?” Syria is not the only place this is happening. It’s happening in Nigeria, the CAR, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and other countries. It is becoming so bad that some call it the next genocide. Yet the Western leaders are either complicit or blinded. The people of the west hardly raise an eyebrow. No one is listening. No one is listening to the heartbreak, the anguish the sorrow of those affected by this. The survivors, the ones that have fled to safety live every day with the nightmares caused by the evil that is growing there. It is hard to express in words the evil that is there. There is no regard for human life, no regard for anything except heinous slaughter. It is pure unadulterated evil. Evil that can only come from the bowels of Hell.
That’s not too harsh. Look at the images coming from these areas, the reports from those on the ground. The suffering and anguish carried by the survivors. The faith that those who witness and experience this puts all in the West to shame. Recently, a Christian facing extreme persecution told us that their faith grows stronger with the persecution.
Look at the recent statement made by Pastor Abidini for Easter. He lays in a hospital bed in Iran knowing he is going back to prison there, and he’s praying for Christians everywhere—not for himself, but for his brothers and sisters facing persecution. That kind of faith is monumental. But do western Christians have that kind of Faith? Would we have that Faith if we faced what they are facing? Would you, could you? They are an inspiration for our own faith.
As I talk to people and I look around, and listen to the news about the bombings in Abuja, the kidnapping of the schoolgirls in Nigeria, the slaughter in the CAR and Syria, the horrific images of death, starvation, torture, and rape ring in my mind. Then I ask why, why does the west remain silent. It’s not too hard to see what concerns them. Look at the television programs and what’s popular, Naked & Afraid, The Kardashians, the Shopping channels, & other reality shows. Naked and Afraid is lived every day by those in these area’s. Starvation, hardships, fear of death, is reality for them. If you want to watch a reality show, watch the news about Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Yemen, Sudan and others. That is Reality!
There have been very disturbing images and reports coming out of Syria the last few days. The UN is said to be turning a report over to the UN Security Council soon. This report details horrific abuses such as beatings with cables, cigarette burns, electric shocks including to the genitals, the tearing out of fingernails and toenails, rape, mock executions and sleep depravation. The world went on a rampage about the same unspeakable horrors in the Iraq war when the torture was revealed. In Syria’s case, the world remains nearly silent. Only recently have these reports hit the Main Stream Media, with any impact. And I fear many ignore the inhumane treatment, even of the most vulnerable—the children.
The NY Times reported that children as young as 11 years old were held in government detention centers along side the adults, and these children were tortured in order to coerce relatives into surrender or confession. They report that Syrian Intelligence services took part in this, with those suspected of involvement with the rebels. Reports claim more than 10,000 children have been subjected.
This appalling, heart stopping, gruesome behavior is beyond unacceptable and should raise the hackles of everyone in the world, not just those the West. Throughout this three-year long civil war, we have been witness to both sides of the fence and the hair raising murders, beheadings, torture and rape. The forces driving this conflict is nothing less than vile, immoral and wicked.
The stories are few and far between, with evidence surfacing for crimes against both sides. The rebel fighters are coming from all over the middle east, with terrorist groups like Al-Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) all with connections to Al-queda.
The government denies the claims. They accuse the rebels, it’s a vicious cycle. The report by the NY times says that investigators were able to cite instances of abuse and executions of children. They are quoted as saying : “It received two reports from Hasakah Province, in northeast Syria: a 16-year-old boy fatally shot last April by the Nusra Front, which is aligned with Al Qaeda, and a 14-year-old boy killed by a Kurdish group.” There are reports that rebels have been recruiting child soldiers since the beginning, complete with videos and images, yet they deny the accusations. The US say’s that they vet all recipients of aid and they say the supported rebels are committed to uphold international standards for human rights. Yet videos like this one, are surfacing daily.
According to reports, Assad has missed the deadline for destroying chemical weapons, and Iran has gained power in recent day’s. With an analytical view, a few questions must be answered. Why now? Why not when reports started surfacing, why have they waited so long to put an end to the suffering of the innocent? Is this being exploited to garner support for an attack? Why has the UN Security council, and other agencies remained virtually silent on this? What demands are the rebels making other than Assad’s removal? What is it that they want?
We are seeing a growing terrorism threat and a regional spillover from the conflict in Syria. Expectations are low since recent failed talks in Geneva. The Obama administration’s view of the conflict seems to be changing. Statements from CIA Director John Brennan and National Intelligence Director James Clapper this past week before the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, address some of the issues recently under review.
“Syria presents a number of challenges to U.S. national security interests in terms of the potential spillover of the fighting inside of Syria to neighboring countries, but also, and increasingly so, concerns on the terrorism front,” Brennan told lawmakers.
“We are concerned about the use of Syrian territory by the al-Qaida organization to recruit individuals and develop the capability to be able not just to carry out attacks inside of Syria, but also to use Syria as a launching pad,” he said.
Clapper said the biggest threat stems from “the 7,500 or so foreign fighters from some 50 countries who have gravitated to Syria. Among them are a small group of Af-Pak al-Qaida veterans who have aspirations for external attack, in Europe if not the homeland.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Friday said Westerners heading to fight in Syria’s civil war could pose a threat to the United States and that undocumented immigrants deserve a path to citizenship, issuing his first policy address since taking office in December. He also said, “U.S. law-enforcement and intelligence officials know individuals from North America and Europe are heading to war-torn Syria, adding that “they will encounter radical, extremist influences” and possibly return to their home countries with the intent to do harm.
Even John Kerry said in a discussion in Munich that Washington’s attention was shifting. “Particularly now, we are focusing in on Syria where there are increasing numbers of extremists,” he said. “I think we need to be more assertive about what we are doing.”
Washington faces difficult choices on Syria.
Adding to the plight of civilians, including children affected by the war is the reports of people being held hostage in Homs. A priest sent out a dire plea for help in a video claiming he was fearful of cannibalism. It is said that forces loyal to Assad have blockaded rebel-held parts of Homs for over a year, causing widespread hunger and suffering, which he described has drove some mad with a mental sickness. An evacuation has been taking place, though aid workers at times had to retreat as they were being shot at. More than 600 people have been evacuated from Homs on Sunday.
Through gunfire and exploding mortar shells, hundreds of women, children and elderly men ran toward a group of Red Crescent workers waiting less than a mile (kilometer) away, said an activist. The Syrian activists say the gunfire came from a government-held neighborhood. The Syrian news agency SANA also reported that civilians came under fire, but blamed “terrorists,” the government term for rebels. A mother claimed there was no food or water for her starving children. “Our life is a disaster. There was nothing, my children are all sick. They were thirsty.”
Despite the violence, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said in a statement that the truce showed “that even in the darkest of nights it is possible to offer a glimmer of hope to people in desperate need of assistance.”
The Homs cease-fire was arranged by U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, who urged the warring sides to aid the estimated 2,500 civilians trapped in the ancient, rebel-held quarters known as Old Homs.
Children are precious in God’s eyes, pray for the innocent people of Syria, pray for the truth to be brought to light, pray for the protection and safety of these children, pray for the leaders to make the right decisions and put an end to this. What will it take?
When searching the internet or listening to the media, you may learn of the many countries and individuals that have pledged funds to aid the Syrian Refugees and the innocent. In truth, this is not the case–we find the aid reaching these true victims of war is sparse.
How can the world stand by while people are forced to live in the most deplorable conditions, as these people, including children starve to death? In the West, if animals are found treated in these same conditions, there would be arrests and charges of inhumane and cruel treatment. Yet civilization, including many churches, are silent. War crimes are being committed and those fortunate enough to escape, are placed in refugee camps that are gruesome and harrowing at best.
Since the war in Syria began, thousands of refugees in search of safety have made the precarious journey through Turkey into Europe. We follow the lives of two refugee families as they encounter people smugglers, border guards and shocking conditions along the way. They find themselves torn apart not by the war back home, but by a new enemy: ‘Fortress Europe’
According to Amnesty International,
“The Continuing violence in Syria has sparked one of the biggest humanitarian crises in recent history.”
They report that out of the countries able to provide aid, little is forthcoming. The United Arab Emirates, one of the wealthiest countries in the Gulf has failed to give, while Russia has given only minimal contributions. There are sobering reports coming out of Syria of blockades of food by government and rebel forces, as pictures of starving children and people multiply. Crimes of war are never easy to view, or envision. But in a world of instant technology, people are placed in the most extreme conditions and left virtually invisible to the rest of humanity. This is unacceptable!
An excerpt from Amnesty International:
“Both the Syrian government and armed opposition groups must allow humanitarian organizations and agencies unfettered access to assist the civilian population.
Amnesty International is calling on states to make a concerted effort to resettle some of the most vulnerable refugees.”
To date, the international efforts to resettle refugees have been pitiful. European Union member states have pledged to resettle just 0.5 per cent of the 2.3 million people who have fled the country.
This is only one case, the numbers are staggering. According to this next video shared earlier this week, the International Red Cross is at one camp and planning a fundraising campaign. Ongoing for a year, this crisis is now beginning to reach critical levels. Conditions in Syrian refugee camps hit rock bottom as children go one week without food and water.
Aid is further hampered by the fighting and constant threat that aid organizations like Doctors without Borders face. This was shared last week by the Epoch Times titled: “Syria Fighters Seize 5 Doctors Without Borders Staff”,
BEIRUT—Five staffers of the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders have been taken in for questioning in northern Syria, the group said Friday. The five staffers were taken “allegedly for questioning” from a Doctors Without Borders house in northern Syria and have been out of contact since Thursday evening, said Michael Goldfarb, a spokesman for the aid group. He did not say whether the missing staffers had been taken by government forces or rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad. He refused to give further details out of concern for the missing workers safety.
Last year the United States accepted only 31 Syrian refugees. The United States typically accepts about half of resettled refugees. The U.S. State Department has told the UNHCR that the United States is ready to accept referrals, but has made no commitments.
At a Senate hearing last week, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. said,
“Overly broad immigration bars” in the United States are preventing legitimate Syrian refugees from reaching the United States, but President Obama has the power to do something about it.”
“The ongoing civil war in Syria has created the world’s worst humanitarian and refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide and perhaps since World War II,” Durbin, the Senate majority whip and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human rights, said in a statement. “Of the nearly 2.3 million Syrian refugees that have fled the bloody civil war, nearly half are children.
“While the United States has led the world in resettling and providing humanitarian assistance to refugees from conflicts around the globe, we’ve not done enough to address the current Syrian crisis. In particular, the Obama administration should use the authority Congress gave it to exempt deserving Syrians from the overly broad immigration bars that prevent legitimate refugees from finding safe haven in the United States.”
“there should be no disagreement that it is a moral and national security imperative to do all we can to help alleviate the suffering of innocent Syrian refugees.”
Contact your elected officials and express your concern. Ask what they’re doing to help alleviate this problem.
To put the devasatation into perspective look at this map from Open Doors:
In an email update from Open Doors:
The UN estimates that nearly 1 out of 3 Syrians have been displaced both inside and outside of the country since the beginning of the civil war. That would be like EVERY single person in ALL of the highlighted states above being displaced.
Extremists have been specifically targeting Christian dominated areas, killing as many as 45 Christians in a single attack. That would be like the states in the “Bible Belt”, being specifically targeted by extremists.
As a result of the violence, 25% of Christians have had to flee the country, in the last year alone. That would be like 37 million American Christians being forced to flee the U.S.
It’s amazing to think about what it would be like if all of this were happening in the USA. Yet, this is the reality our Syrian brothers and sisters have been facing for the past few years.
Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Open Doors is helping displaced Christians in places like Syria, Iraq and The Central African Republic, through Christian community restoration projects like housing, food and even rebuilding churches that have been attacked.
*Information gathered from the US Census Bureau and The United Nation.
Other organizations like Doctors without Borders and Samaritans Purse are truly attempting to help, even though their lives are at risk.
If you would like to donate, we are searching for organizations that are using the majority of funds to go directly for the relief of the desperate needs of those suffering.
We have been in contact with Samaritans Purse and they assured us that they are on the ground in this area.
To help support their efforts, visit Samaritan’s Purse at their website here, or you can mail in your donation to the following address.
We are still reaching out to other organizations and smaller missions on the ground, who sometimes are found to be doing the most work. As we are informed, we’ll keep you updated so you can support their mission.
Intercessory prayers at this time are so important. In a world filled with unending chaos, sometimes we wonder if our prayers are being heard. The Apostles taught of the need for support and prayer for those suffering in the Body. The prayers of the Saints are also mentioned in Revelation as going before the Throne. Try to place yourself in their shoes and never give up praying for them.
Help us to raise awareness of this severe humanitarian crisis. Share this information with everyone you know. Take it to your church leaders and ask them to lead in intercessory prayer for the innocents and our brother’s and sisters suffering for Christ. We are ONE!
“Continue to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8
Report Contributors: VOP Advocates, C.Refsland / L.Kanalos