300,000 Christians Flee War, Persecution in Syria

In Syria, some 300,000 Christian refugees also fleeing from UN camps

ICC Note: Some 300,000 Christians are living as refugees after escaping war and persecution in Syria, Asia News reports. While people from every political, ethnic, and religious background are suffering in Syria’s civil war, Christians have found themselves in a very unique and frightening situation, having widely chosen not to take up arms or to openly support either the rebels or the regime. While many Christians have publicly denounced the brutality of President Assad and by no means support the regime, most Christians see little hope in an alternative government which, they fear, will be led by Islamists who will hinder or outright abolish the religious freedoms long experienced by Christian in Syria.

4/4/2013 Syria (AsiaNews) – More than 300,000 Christians have fled their villages and towns to escape the war, but also UN refugee camps, said Issam Bishara, regional director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

Speaking to AsiaNews, he said that none of the displaced families is in UN refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan, where displaced people are registered as rebels and used for photo ops.

“In Lebanon, about 1,200 families have found shelter with friends or relatives,” Bishara said. In fact, most Christians are not on the lists of the High Commissioner for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). They refuse to be identified as part of the mostly Sunni opposition.

Christians prefer to be neutral, above the conflict between Muslim rebels and Bashar al-Assad’s Alawis. For this reason, they have been surviving without any substantial aid from major donors like the UNHCR and the Red Cross. Still, “They they need everything,” Bishara explained. “The only support they get is from CNEWA.”

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