Christians in Syria also victimized by Assad regime
Syrian Christian holding a cross painted in the colors of the revolution flag (SNN)
If we study the Assad family regime since it came to power, we will realize its hostility, both hidden and declared, towards Christians on many occasions. The Assad regime committed massacres against the Lebanese Christians. Regime prisons were filled with Christian political detainees, both Syrians and Lebanese, especially during the civil war in Lebanon. With the start of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, Syrian Christians, like their fellow countrymen, took a stance according to their personal interests. In the first months of the revolution, many Christian young men and intellectuals declared openly their opposition to the corrupt dictatorship of the Assad regime, participating in peaceful demonstrations. When the revolution took a military nature as a result of the mad Assad regime use of its military machine against civilians, Christians were divided into three categories.
The first category stood by the Syrian revolution and joined the rest of Syrians in demonstrations. Some of them took up arms to confront terrorism of the criminal Assad forces. Some of them were arrested and are still in Assad’s prisons. Some of them were martyred in the battles, and others chose to escape and take refuge outside.
The second category included Christian beneficiaries of the Assad regime. Those shared the crimes of the Assad regime fighting in the ranks of its forces. Some Christian businessmen supported the corrupt regime because of mutual interests. Some of them were killed in the fighting and others are still trying by all means to survive. Others chose to run away, with what is left of their money after the fear of the military or political fall of the Assad regime.
The third category − which is the majority of Syrian Christians − chose neutrality. They withdrew themselves from any position of pro-revolutionary, or loyal to Assad. Most of the youth of this section immigrated and sought asylum in EU countries as a result of the great pressure exercised by the Assad regime to enlist them in the ranks of its troops.
The estimated number of Christian detainees in Syria according to international organizations and special reports is at least 3000, including women, in addition to no less than 5000 cases of enforced disappearances at the hands of Assad forces and militias loyal to him. Many of these militias have also been used against Christians in kidnapping operations for those who belong to rich families asking for ransom in return for the abducted. The number of Christians killed in Syria is not clear. However, reports talk about at least 2000 by Assad regime forces.
In some cases, the regime military bombed Christian neighborhoods to blame the Syrian military opposition in order to bring more Christians to its side. Homs has experienced a large number of these attacks.
It is a mistake that some Christians took the side of the dictator because he will inevitably go and eventually the Syrian people will be living together as they used to do for centuries.
Eva J. Koulouriotis is a Greek political analyst specialized in the Middle East. Twitter: @evacool_f, Facebook: @evakoulouriotis