Conflicting Reports from Syria about Murder of Christians
According to the Assyrian International News Agency, the opposition rebels are murdering Christians. The Vatican reports that, while Christians are being murdered, the rebels are destroying Christian churches, broadcasting that Syria must be ethnically cleansed and even shooting priests. Bishop Philip Tournyol Clos, a greek-Catholic Melkite Archimandrite, reported:
In Homs, opposition forces have occupied two areas, Diwan Al Bustan and Hamidieh, where there are all the churches and bishoprics. The picture for us is utter desolation: the church of Mar Elian is half destroyed and that of Our Lady of Peace is still occupied by the rebels. Christian homes are severely damaged due to the fighting and completely emptied of their inhabitants, who fled without taking anything. The area of Hamidieh is still shelter to armed groups independent of each other, heavily armed and bankrolled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. All Christians (138,000) have fled to Damascus and Lebanon, while others took refuge in the surrounding countryside. A priest was killed and another was wounded by three bullets.
Mother Agnes Miriam of the Cross, Mother Superior of the Monastery of St. James at Qara in the Diocese of Homs, claimed that the opposition Free Syrian Army told Christians to get out, saying, "Yes ... it was commander on the ground Abdel Salam Harba who decided that there was to be no more negotiations with Christians." She said that Christians are being targeted because they remain non-partisan in the conflict.
National Review disputed the claims. They write that the Houla massacre was explained away by the Assad regime the same way the Homs massacre was. As it turns out, many of the stories depicting the opposition rebels as committing war crimes originate in propaganda websites like Syria Truth, which got hysterical when NRO debunked them. NRO points out, for example, that an article by Thieery Meyssan labeling the crimes as rebels’ actions should be dismissed, because Meyssan also wrote that the Beslan massacre in Russia was actually planned by the CIA and the U.S. government.
It turns out that Mother Agnes Miriam is also an apologist for Assad; the Swiss newspaper Le Courrier said she was “comfortable among Assad’s security services, and hoped he could dismantle the propaganda of Western media.” Thierry Meyssan also interviewed her, and she repeated Assad’s contention that he was trying to “reform.”
The situation in Syria is murky; no one can give a complete picture of what is really happening. One thing should be clear by now: in Syria, there aren’t any guys wearing white hats.