For embattled Syrian Christians, though — most of whom tried to stay out of the conflict — reports suggest the situation is deteriorating quickly, with over 1,200 documented murders so far, and almost 500,000 forced to flee their homes to escape the escalating violence and ruthless persecution. The real numbers are probably even worse.
Experts say the end goal of many jihadist rebel groups is to eradicate Christianity in Syria as part of the effort to create a fundamentalist Islamic state. Even factions of the Obama-backed “Free Syrian Army,” receiving vast amounts of Western aid under the guise of supporting supposed “moderates,” have been implicated in the anti-Christian atrocities by refugees cited in media reports. Like in Iraq following the U.S. government’s “regime change” operation, the Christian minority in Syria — about 10 percent of the population — could face potential extinction as Western powers continue to shower arms and support on Islamic rebels.
In recent months, ghastly accounts of civilian massacres aimed at Syrian Christian communities in particular have become more frequent and more gruesome. However, despite the apparent surge in anti-Christian savagery often perpetrated by Western-backed jihadist rebels, the establishment press has largely turned away. As The New American has been reporting for years, the prospect of full-blown genocide against Syrian Christians if and when Assad falls is very real — and growing more likely with each passing month.
Indeed, what analysts and church leaders are describing as among the worst attacks thus far occurred in late October — the execution of dozens of civilian followers of Christ, including women and children, in the ancient town of Saddad. The massacre went virtually unnoticed by the outside world. According to the reports that have emerged thus far, at least 45 Christians were killed — some tortured to death — and the town’s 14 churches were largely destroyed.
“What happened in Saddad is the most serious and biggest massacre of Christians in Syria in the past two years and a half,” reported Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama, saying 45 innocent civilians, including women and children, had been martyred. Many were thrown into mass graves or wells. “Other civilians were threatened and terrorized,” he said. “Thirty were wounded and ten are still missing.”
According to the church leader, whose statement has been widely quoted by Christian sources and alternative media outlets, some 1,500 Christian families were held hostage by rebel forces and used as human shields. All of the houses in the ancient Christian village of about 15,000 people were looted, he said. The churches were desecrated and robbed, with ancient texts being taken. Businesses, schools, the hospital, the post office, and other buildings were all destroyed as well.
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Photo of Syrian Christians: AP Images