20 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 01/17/2013 17:54
VATICAN - SYRIA
For Syriac Catholic patriarch of Antioch, US, EU and Gulf states stir hatred in Syria
by Simone Cantarini
For Ignatius Joseph III Younan, a Christian presence in Syria is essential for confessional reconciliation between Alawis and Sunnis. Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for Aleppo university blast that killed 87. The violence of Muslim extremists and government forces could wipe out Syria forever. Patriarch calls on young Christians to stay in the Middle East to be witnesses of peace.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The United States, the European Union and the Gulf states have a great responsibility in this war, which began as a peaceful Arab spring," said Mgr Ignatius Joseph III Younan, patriarch of Antioch of the Syriacs since 2009. "By backing the rebels, who are not united, they stirred hatred among the people. We Christians are disappointed by the behaviour of these countries; their money and oil bought the world's conscience, justifying violence." For the head of the Syriac Catholic Church, "the Christians left in Syria are the only ones who can bear witness through their lives and values to the possibility of reconciliation, now virtually excluded by both regime and rebels."

For the patriarch, syria is very close to a point of no-return. As planes continue to strike, its very existence is at stake. "The situation is getting worse and more heartbreaking by the day. This is no longer an Arab spring; it is a sectarian conflict between the Alawi minority and the Sunni majority."

In the areas controlled by the military, suicide attacks by al-Nusra militants continue. The terrorist organisation is linked to al-Qaeda, and is responsible for an attack at Aleppo University two days ago that left 87 people dead and hundreds wounded.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in Idleb, the main town in north-western Syria, killing 22.

In and around Damascus, Syria's military has responded with an iron-fist, cracking down with everything it has, including cluster bombs, to regain control of the province.

In Darayya,southwestern Syria, witnesses are reporting an unprecedented offensive by the army. Before the start of the civil war, the city had a population of 200,000. Now most residents have fled. Only a handful of residents remain, and they are in danger of dying from air strikes.

Colonel Maher al-Assad, brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, "has given orders to take control of Darayya even if that should mean destroying whatever buildings remain in the town," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The army is moving ahead relentlessly in Homs, where it "carried out a new massacre on Tuesday claiming 106 victims, including women and children," the Britain-based watchdog said.

In the past, the Church called on the regime to change from totalitarian to democracy. "I personally expressed this opinion on Syrian state television," the patriarch said. "There must be change, but not through violence; the impact of sectarian hatred will last for decades after the war is over."  For this reason, the right path is true reconciliation with members of the old regime.

"There cannot be an agreement with preconditions," he explained. "Should the rebels take over, they'll demand Assad's head, the Alawi community will disappear and perhaps other minorities as well. There are also risks with the conditions imposed by the president who wants to throw out all the Sunnis from the country."

"Given what happened in Iraq, and at the consequences of the Syrian war in Lebanon, we Christians in the Middle East are facing the greatest challenge of our history, that of remaining in our cities and convincing our youth not to flee. Our role is fundamental for the reconciliation between peoples divided by hatred. As the pope put it, we must pray and work for peace, dialogue, reconciliation and the defence of human rights present in Syria."

Syriac Catholics are present across the Middle East. Most live in Iraq (42,000) and Syria (26,000), especially in Aleppo.

Like other Middle Eastern Churches, the Syriac Catholic Church has suffered from emigration. According to some estimates, 55,000 Syriac Catholics have found refuge in Western countries.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
04/23/2013 SYRIA
Pope praying for the release of Mgrs Ibrahim and Boulos al-Yaziji
09/06/2013 SYRIA
Maaloula: Christians flee village where people still speak the language of Jesus
02/22/2012 SYRIA
Threatened by violence, Christians flee Syria, says Aleppo archbishop
03/24/2014 VATICAN - SYRIA - INDIA
Pope: with Patriarch Zakka's death, the Christian world has lost one of its leaders, a man of dialogue and peace
12/05/2012 SYRIA
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius IV Hazim dies

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.