Syrian Priest: Mass Christian Exodus Following Jihadi Invasion
ICC Note: The influx of Islamic militants who have flooded Syria with the stated goal of establishing an Islamic state has driven many of the country’s Christians to flee the country. In the midst of the ongoing civil war there have been multiple incidents of Christians being targeted across Syria as a result of their faith and unwillingness to conform to the extremist agenda of these fighters.
11/29/13 Syria (MidEast Christian News) – Foreign jihadist armed groups are targeting Christian villages north of Damascus, said Fr. George Louis, Greek Catholic parish priest of the San Michele Church in the town of Qara, 100 km north of the Syrian.
“Qara has been burned and devastated, and foreign jihadist militants apply the same model in the villages of Maalula, Sednaya, Sadad, Qara, Deir Atieh, and Nebek, all located north of Damascus, where they target the village, then invade it, kill people, destroy and burn it,” he told the Vatican’s Fides agency on Thursday.
“More than three thousand Sunni jihadists from the Lebanese village of Arsal, a stronghold of armed groups located about 122 km from Beirut, entered Syria on November 16 through Lebanon. They stormed Qara and turned it into a battlefield. This prompted the members of the Free Syrian Army to withdraw. About 600,000 people fled immediately to the neighboring towns and villages,” Father Louis added.
The priest said the Christian community of Qara, who gathered in the historic center, did not want to move. Nearly 35 Christian families took refuge in the church to pray, and soon the gate of the church was hit by armed insurgents, he added.