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ICC Note: The conflict in Syria is threatening to lead to a massive exodus of Christians from the country. There are fears that Syria, which had an estimated 1.2 million Christians before the war broke out, will experience a similar fate as its neighbor Iraq. The Syria situation remains delicate with Iran and Hezbollah backing the Assad regime and Al-Qaeda linked militants fighting with the opponents of Assad. The result is that at present there are very few options that seem to provide any protections for the Syrian Christian community.
By Michael Gryboski
8/29/2013 Syria (Christian Post) – A retired Army lieutenant colonel with years of experience in the Pentagon believes that American involvement in Syria could have results similar to the Iraq War on religious freedom.
Lt. Col. Robert L. Maginnis, who presently serves as senior fellow for National Security at Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., told The Christian Post about the possible similarity. “Former dictator Saddam Hussein protected Christians but once Saddam was replaced the American-installed Shiite government sat back while Christians were run out of the country,” said Maginnis.
“Today Iraqi Christians are living in Jordan and Turkey, meanwhile, the few Christians left in Iraq live in fear of Islamist attacks,” he said.
Maginnis also told CP that he expected “a similar outcome in Syria” given the direction of the current civil war. “That country under Assad has been diverse but since the civil war sectarian tension has increased and many Christians fled to Jordan and Turkey,” said Maginnis, who is a senior analyst with the U.S. Army. “Should Islamists take over Syria, with or without American help, Christians will face increased persecution and thus will flee in greater numbers,” he predicted.
Last year, President Barack Obama told the media that the United States’ “red line” for action against President Bashar al-Assad of Syria would be the usage of chemical weapons. Recently, claims have surfaced that Assad’s forces in the Syrian civil war have indeed used chemical weapons to fatally gas hundreds of civilians. As the investigation into the allegation continues, armed forces from multiple Western nations, including the United States and Great Britain, are being moved closer to the troubled region.
Leonard Leo, who served three terms as a commissioner with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), told The Christian Post that in his opinion “the Christians are in a bad spot no matter what happens.”

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