Our Canadian correspondent Rembrandt Clancy sends his translation of a German news report (subtitled video plus transcript) about the plight of Christians in Syria. During the current civil war Christians have had their property expropriated, been driven from their homes and murdered, all at the hands of mujahideen groups financed and armed by the United States.
The most disturbing aspect of this report concerns the alliance of Christians with Hezbollah, which offers protection in the face of their common enemy: Sunni Islam.
The translator includes this introduction:
Here is a video report from “ARD, DasErste.de, Report München”, dated 15 October 2013. It concerns the fate of Christian refugees of the Syrian Orthodox Church who have made their way to a monastery in Lebanon and are hoping to find refuge in Germany. There is some interesting information about the relationship among Christians, Hezbollah, Shiites and Sunnis in Syria. Also there is a rather frank segment near the end on one Christian refugee family from Syria who fled Germany due to persecution from Sunni Muslims. The reporters “could not believe it”.
“Between the Fronts: Doubly under Pressure — The Syrian Christians”
The original German posting is here.
Between the Fronts: Doubly under Pressure — The Syrian Christians
By: Stefan Meining, Ahmet Senyurt Stand: 15.10.2013
ARD, DasErste.de, Report München
Anchor: Millions of Syrians are fleeing. Out of the civil war, a veritable refugee tragedy has developed. Every day, there are new horrendous pictures from Lampedusa.
Today our reporters Stefan Meining und Ahmet Senzurt highlight the fates of Syrian Christians. They are doubly oppressed: plagued by war, and by religious persecution as well. Our correspondents travelled to adjacent Lebanon, whereto many Syrian Christians have made their initial escape.
Reporter: Firel and her mother are Christians from Syria. Like them, the Salibas have lost everything: their homeland, their property. They have fled, not from the murderous Assad-regime, but from fundamentalist militia who wish to establish an Islamic theocracy in Syria.
As if they were trophies, they upload videos of raided Christian villages to the internet.
The pressure becomes ever stronger.
In September Islamic terrorists attack the village of Maalula. It is a World Heritage site.
The abduction of Christians increases. Others only just barely escaped.
Firel Yousef Jebrail, Young Refugee: “I was in danger on the way to school. There was shooting and fighting in the streets. They wanted to abduct me. I was afraid. But a wonderful woman hid me in her house and brought me to safety, until I could call my parents.”
Reporter: That is the fate of just one of a hundred thousand Christians from Syria.
We are in the Mor Gabriel Monastery of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Lebanon.
The monastery is a waiting area for desperate people who are fleeing to Europe.
Bishop George Saliba invited us to live together in his monastery, next-door to Syrian refugees. Our immediate neighbours are the Salibas. Father, mother and three daughters share the same room. Abjar was a shipper with his own trucks. They lost everything. They want to go to Germany, to Abjar’s sister in Wiesbaden. In Syria they no longer see a future for themselves.
Abjar Saliba: “There was no more security. I have three daughters. That is very frightening because of the rapes, abductions and extortions. I had a forwarding agency; they stole two trucks from me along with the contents. They were the Islamists of the Al-Nusra. My daughter and my work were in danger. I could no longer live there, therefore I fled.”
Reporter: The Salibas come from the northeast of Syria. Many Christians lived here before the attacks of the Islamists — as they did here in the city of Ras al-Ayn. Now the city is supposed to be “Christian free”, so the Dourchis’ told us, who in November of last year were driven out of Ras al-Ayn and since then they have been living fully without means in one room of the Mor Gabriel Monastery.
Ibrahim Douchi, refugee: “The Christians in Syria have become a target of attack for these criminal gangs. Anything else which is said about them is untrue. Unfortunately we are only numbers to the West. The Near Eastern Christians do not interest the West! That is what the entire West should hear!”
Reporter: Should the Syrian civil war spread — which is what many fear — then they would be sitting here in Lebanon in a trap. For that reason, more and more Christians are fleeing in the direction of Europe. Many are also stranded on Lampedusa. But most have not even managed to get to this place.
We are going to Beirut. For we have learned from our enquiries that the Syrian Christians in their despair are turning to the Hezbollah for help. Is that true? Images of so-called martyrs line the streets here. We checked with the Hezbollah and obtained an interview — without a camera. Yes, the Hezbollah also fight on behalf of the Christians, the press spokesman told us.
A reminder: In Europe the military arm of Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organisation. In the Syrian civil war the Hezbollah fight on the side of Assad. In doing so, they have also saved Christians, according to clergymen who spoke to us confidentially.
In Beirut, in the middle of the area dominated by Hezbollah, a car bomb exploded in midsummer and it killed many people and destroyed entire blocks of flats.
Resident of Beirut: “There was a devastating explosion. Body parts landed in front me on the street.”
Reporter: Like Christians, the Shiites in Syria are also persecuted. We have an appointment with our host Bishop Saliba. Is it true that the Hezbollah also fight for the Christians?
Archbishop George Saliba, Syrian-Orthodox Church, Lebanon: “It is a hundred percent true! We agree with what the Hezbollah have told you. They are good friends for Christians.”
Reporter: Back in the Mor Gabriel Monastery we are meeting with the chairman of the ‘Central Council of the Oriental Church in Germany’, Simon Jacob. He is able to confirm the co-operation with the Shiites and the Hezbollah.
Simon Jacob “The Shiites, who are in sympathy with the Hezbollah, are in a similar situation as the Christian minority in the Near East. They are in the same boat. Accordingly they try to protect each other and accordingly they seek opportunities to defend themselves.”
Reporter: In the monastery there is a continual coming and going. Who still has money left, can be smuggled. Others, like our neighbours, wait for a German visa. And Barbara, like her sisters, would finally like to go to school again.
Barbara: “I would like to go to Germany, above all in order to attend school. I would like to prove to the Germans that they have not accommodated us Syrians in vain.”
Reporter: We are leaving the monastery for Germany. Here we wish to meet a Christian refugee family: anonymously, without a camera. The family applied for asylum and were threatened in the hostel. They were — we could not believe it — fanatical Sunni refugees from Syria. For the Christians, the persecutions continue even here.
Anonymous Refugee: “He said, ‘one day I will kill you and drink your blood’. […] He yelled at my wife and struck our child. […] We remained in our room like prisoners, so there would be no anger.”
Reporter: In the meantime the family left Germany again, out of fear.
Also Firel is very much worried. Doctors have diagnosed her with a lower abdominal tumour. The family cannot afford the treatment.