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» 02/12/2013
SYRIA
After Muslim rebels seize two priests in Aleppo, there are fears for their life
An Armenian Catholic priest, Fr Michael, and an Orthodox clergyman were abducted last Sunday in Aleppo's Christian neighbourhood. Sources speak to AsiaNews about barbarous murders carried out my Islamic extremists. A car bomb explodes at the Turkish-Syrian border crossing of Cilvegozu.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) - A group of rebels close to Muslim extremists on Sunday abducted an Armenian Catholic priest, Fr Michael, as well as a yet unknown Orthodox clergyman. Both were working in Aleppo. Sources, anonymous for security reasons, told AsiaNews that the city's Christian community is very concerned about the attack. "Extremist violence is getting worse day by day. Muslim militias are killing anyone suspected of ties with the regime, including women and children. People in the neighbourhoods are comparing these days to the Ottoman conquest five centuries ago."

For several weeks, residents had complained about the presence of al-Nusra Front forces, Islamic extremists who want to turn Syria into an Islamic state, feared even by the rebel Free Syrian Army.

On 6 February, Front troops stormed the Christian neighbourhood of Jdeideh where extremists had already destroyed the city's main Evangelical church in November.

Al-Nusra forces include many foreigners, including Muslims from Indonesia and the Philippines, as evinced by a statement posted online by the leader of Abu Sayyaf, an extremist Muslim group with ties to al-Qaeda operating in the Philippines. In it, Muslims are urged to go to Syria and sacrifice their lives for Islam.

"These fighters live for killing and violence. They act without pity and make distinctions among people," sources said. "When they kill, they turn to God as if they were making a sacrifice."

Meanwhile, clashes between the military and rebel groups continue across Syria with more than 60,000 people killed so far.

Yesterday, a car bomb killed 13 people near the Turkish border, at a road block in Cilvegozu, a border crossing some 100 kilometres northwest of Aleppo, the main route of escape for Syrian refugees fleeing the war. It has been in rebel hands for several months. (S.C.)


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See also
04/29/2013 SYRIA
Aleppo: two Orthodox bishops still captive, Christian neighbourhood shelled
01/18/2013 SYRIA
Al- Nusra, a Jihadist brigade that scares Syrian rebels
04/22/2014 SYRIA
For Gregorios III, the destruction of Ma'aloula churches is a "war crime"
by Fady Noun
07/22/2013 SYRIA
New clashes between Kurds and Islamists in Syria, a 'war within a war'
07/18/2013 SYRIA
Kurds and Islamists clash along Turkish border

Editor's choices
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"Stop! I am asking you with all my heart. Stop!" says pope as he speaks out on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine He mentions children, victims of war, "from whom we take away the hope for a decent life," urging the parties to address "every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation". As tomorrow marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, "a day of mourning," we should learn the lessons of history. The Gospel makes us know the true Jesus, the living Jesus, who speaks to the heart and is a life changer as he was for Saint Francis of Assisi. "The joy of finding the treasure of the Kingdom of God comes through, can be seen. Christians cannot hide their faith."
IRAQ - VATICAN
Saddened by "the timidity of the civilised world," Baghdad patriarch's heart bleeding "for the innocent in Iraq, Syria and Gaza" "Forget us not!" says Mar Louis Sako in a message to Card Barbarin on the occasion of the march of solidarity with Iraqi Christians, held today in Lyon.
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".

Dossier
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pp. 176
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