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Islamic forces target Christians in Syria

ICC Note:

“While the Syrian opposition forces have been guilty of violence, abuse, torture - as stated in a report released yesterday by the NGO ‘Human Rights Watch’ - in Homs there is ‘an ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians’, carried out by members [an Al Qaeda affiliate],” Agenzia Fides reports.

3/21/2012 Syria (Agenzia Fides) – While the Syrian opposition forces have been guilty of violence, abuse, torture - as stated in a report released yesterday by the NGO "Human Rights Watch" - in Homs there is "an ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians", carried out by members of the "Brigade Faruq", close to Al Qaeda. So says a note sent to Fides by the Syrian Orthodox Church, which includes 60% of Christians in Syria. Militant armed Islamists - says the note - have managed to expel 90% of Christians in Homs and confiscated their homes by force. According to Orthodox Metropolitan sources, the militants went door to door in the neighborhoods of Hamidiya and Bustan al-Diwan, forcing Christians to flee, without giving them the chance to take their belongings. The "Faruq Brigade" is run by armed elements of Al-Qaeda and various Wahhabi groups and includes mercenaries from Libya and Iraq.

The Vicar Apostolic of Aleppo, Mgr. Giuseppe Nazzaro told Fides: "We have no sources to confirm this information directly, but we can say that these relationships are beginning to break down the wall of silence built up to now by the press worldwide. In this situation Islamist and terrorist movements are making headway". The Vicar remembers with concern some recent episodes: "Last Sunday, a car bomb exploded in Aleppo packed with TNT, in the vicinity of the school of the Franciscan fathers. By a miracle a massacre of children was avoided, at the Center of catechesis of the Church of St. Bonaventure: only because the Franciscan, sensing danger, made the children leave 15 minutes before the usual time. Other bombs exploded in Damascus: these are bad signs for religious minorities". On the prospects of the situation, the Vicar says, "I am confident that peace can return: for this we Christians count on constant praying".

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