Syria: Rebels Seized Control of a historic Christian Village 3 weeks ago (VIDEO)

As Islamist Occupation Continues,

Syrian Christians Remain Trapped

An update: September 25, 2013 from http://news.antiwar.com

Nearly three weeks ago, rebels from al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra attacked the Syrian Christian village of Maaloula, seizing a hotel on a hilltop and using it as a base to shell the villagers below and eventually taking the town outright. Several failed militarypushes later, parts of the town have been reclaimed, but al-Nusra is still at the hotel.

Most of the tiny village’s population fled when the attacks began, but a number of civilians fled to a convent on the outskirts of town, where nuns take care of orphans. It was never intended to be a long-term solution.

But roughly 40 civilians, including many of the orphans, are still stuck in the convent, with supplies dwindling and a looming humanitarian crisis, they have been appealing to Christians elsewhere in Syria for relief.

That’s going to be tough going, however, since Christians throughout Syria are taking the ongoing civil war particularly hard, stuck between an Assad government that has historically tolerated them, more or less, and Islamist-dominated rebels that see that tolerance as evidence of complicity, and aim to wipe them out.

Tiny towns like Maaloula are mostly off the beaten path in Syria. The villagers there still speak Aramaic, not Syrian Arabic, and beyond a tiny army post inside the village, which was burned almost immediately when al-Nusra attacked, there is little reason why the village would be of interest at all to al-Qaeda.

A statement from an alleged commander of al-Nusra promised to withdraw from the village if the Christians promised to keep the military from returning, but the village of a couple thousand people can’t realistically keep any fighting force out, and so al-Nusra has remained, leaving the villagers stuck in the middle of a civil war.

Photo credit http://www.al-monitor.com/

This is a somewhat (relatively older) story, from September 5th and 8th, 2013. However, I have been digging a little bit past the headlines and found the story reported at Al-Monitor.com. See below the video.

Syrian rebels have reportedly taken control of an historic Christian village near Damascus. Rebel forces led by al Qaeda-linked jihadists captured the Christian village of Maaloula, situated in the mountains just north of Damascus. The village is also known as one of the few places in the world where residents still speak Aramaic, which some scholars say is the language Jesus spoke.

Maaloula is one of the oldest Christian villages in the world, and the oldest in Syria. From CBN News Length 4:02 VIDEO by VOM C

This was the town we read about when the Daily Mail reported on rebels who threatened christians to convert to islam or be beheaded:

Maaloula, Syria Photo credit http://www.dailymail.co.uk

The village of Maaloula has been taken over by Syrian rebels associated with al Qaeda, who have stormed the Christian center and offered local Christians a choice: conversion or death. A resident of the town said the rebels shouted “Allahu Akhbar” as they moved through the village, and proceeded to assault Christian homes and churches.

One Maaloula resident said the rebels, many of whom had beards and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great), attacked Christian homes and churches shortly after moving into the village.

“They shot and killed people,” he said. “I heard gunshots and then I saw three bodies lying in the middle of a street in the old quarters of the village. Where is President Obama to see what has befallen us?” Another witness stated, “I saw the militants grabbing five villagers and threatening them and saying, ‘Either you convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded.’”

Another said one church had been torched, and gunmen stormed into two other churches and robbed them.

The beautiful mountain village, 25 miles from Damascus, is one of the few places in the world where residents still use the ancient language of Aramaic, which was spoken by Jesus and his disciples.

Terrified Christians claim Syrian rebels ordered them to convert to Islam on pain of death when they ‘liberated’ their ancient village.

Opposition forces, including fighters linked to Al Qaeda, gained temporary control of the Christian village of Maaloula after fighting with regime forces.

The reports have reignited fears about western support for the rebel groups, which are increasingly being infiltrated by Islamic extremists.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Syrian Christian Village Besieged By Jihadists September 5, 2013

Read the detailed report here: http://www.al-monitor.com/

Syrian Islamist Rebels Threaten Maaloula, Christians

After the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved President Barack Obama’s plan to strike Syria, armed extremist Islamists entered the Syrian town of Maaloula, located to the northeast of Damascus.

Maaloula is a historical town that symbolizes the Christian presence in the Levant. To this day, its residents speak Aramaic — the language of Jesus Christ. For centuries, Maaloula has maintained its heritage and embodied the presence of Christianity in Syria, despite the predominant Islamic characteristics the country took on following the Islamic conquests in Syria in 636.

However, in their fight against Christians, those attacking Maaloula are still implementing the old legacies of Islam in its early stages. Back then, the prophet was compelled to make concessions to gain the support of tribes in his conflict with the Quraysh — rich Arab tribes at the time — and those opposed to his call for Islam in the Arab peninsula.

Storming into Maaloula and calling upon its residents to convert to Islam as the only option to stay alive — only days prior to a possible US military attack against the Syrian regime — once again prompts questions about a potential alternative. While, according to the West, President Bashar al-Assad prevents the establishment of democracy in Syria, the Islamist opposition threatens —  if it were to usurp power — to destroy 1,000 years of religious tolerance in the Levant.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/syria-islamists-maaloula-threat-religious-coexistence.html#ixzz2fwrThoEY

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