Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

كوردى | Kurdî | English
Rudaw

Syria

In Rural Syria, Christians Eye Revolution Suspiciously

By JEAN CARRERE 18/3/2013
Syrian Orthodox Christians attend Easter mass in Damascus.  April 2012.  Photo AP.
Syrian Orthodox Christians attend Easter mass in Damascus. April 2012. Photo AP.

YACOUBIAH, Syria – Christian villagers in northern Syria say they have remained unharmed by Islamic rebels fighting the Damascus regime, but find themselves trapped in a war in which they have no stake.

Residents in the mostly Christian villages of Yacoubiah, Jdeide, and Quinie, which lie between the government stronghold of Jisr al-Sughur and the small town of Darkush, which has been in rebel hands for months, find themselves caught between a rock and hard place.

Yanis, a 27-year-old lawyer in Yacoubiah who worked in Aleppo prior to the two-year-old popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite-led regime, says that water and electricity shortages have eased since the Free Syrian Army (FSA) moved into the area last December.

“They knocked on our door and asked if we were Christians. We thought we were going to have to flee, see our house possessed, or worse. But they simply said, ‘don't worry, we will protect you,’” Yanis recalled.

While residents used to suffer power shortages under regime rule, the rebels rerouted electrical power to the village and began and brought in water supplies with tractors, he said.

During fierce fighting around Christmas Day, Yanis' mother spent hours praying before a large painting of Christ that hangs in the living room.

“Despite what they say, and whatever good they've done, we Christians feel lost in this fight. It is a fight between the Sunnis and Alawites. We should stay out of it,” she warned.

A few blocks down, the 10 members of another Christian family huddled around a heating stove, in a sparsely-furnished home free of any religious symbols.

“I am not saying the government is perfect. We know all the horrible things they are doing around the country, but they never mistreated us because we were Christians,” stressed Ektimal, a beautiful woman in her early 30s.

“Now that the FSA controls our village and those around, we cannot travel freely to villages under Bashar's control. I cannot see most of my family,” she said, while admitting that FSA rebels had behaved respectfully toward the villagers, and that there had been no looting or mistreatment.

“Even during the heavy fighting after Christmas, we did not flee. Where could we go? We are farmers, if we move, we die,” she lamented.

“There is no school left open. There will be nothing left in Syria once this war is over. And, if it ever ends, what will happen to us? Extremist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra will come for us,” she feared.

A teacher in Idlib, speaking on condition of anonymity, said such fears were not irrational, though he personally does not believe them.

“The regime propaganda is extremely effective when it comes to groups like Jabhat al-Nusra. Clearly, they are extremists, but it doesn't mean they want to massacre Christians. In my opinion, Bashar himself commits atrocities against minorities in order to blame them on the Islamists,” he said.

Despite the uncertainties of life, the Christian community of the region still gathers regularly for mass.

“We are not against the rebels,” said George, another villager.  “Actually, I am against Bashar. But most of all, I am against war. It will bring no greater good, especially not to us. While they shoot each other, there is no work in the fields, no construction in the city. There is only destruction.”

Tags :
Print Email to a friend
Save this story
1367 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Rojava | 7/31/2014 10:11:14 PM
Rudaw please make an article about this Petition too its about the kurdish Language http://www.change.org/de/Petitionen/larry-page-kürtç...
Khalat | 8/1/2014 5:41:24 AM
Thank you Jonathan Schwoerer for you'd caring And excellent achievement! We appreciate this and you are amongst a legend in the Kurdistan' do not be...
US Teen Petitions Obama for Kurdish Independence
| 30/7/2014 | (48)
A Canadian Kurd | 7/31/2014 10:03:40 PM
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/support-kurds-syria-rojava/yLyzLbJM As of 5 min ago need 34 more signature. Support kurds in Syria...
kurt bashar | 8/1/2014 5:28:01 AM
@Sweden & @for Kurdistan, You both are wrong with your criticism. war isn't over just began, we could have differences but we should never use bed...
Kurds take more Territory in Syria as Government Troops Withdraw
| 22 hours ago | (19)
Shoresh | 7/31/2014 11:55:14 AM
A pan-iranist and she sounds persian eventhough she is trying to sing in kurdish. Not a good role model for women in rojhelat who are already...
manijeh | 8/1/2014 4:00:04 AM
She is strong women, she is a voice of many womens in Iran that dying in silence slowly. We must be so proud of her
Kurdish Singer Advocates for Women
| 30/7/2014 | (6)
Rawaz a | 8/1/2014 1:44:50 AM
Kurds need to tell the assyrians: If you favor the arabs so much we will leave them to protect you. If they hate us so much why are they all coming...
Hajo | 8/1/2014 3:58:05 AM
Its tome to act like they are saying!
Assyrian Representative in Sweden Blasts Kurdish Independence
| 23 hours ago | (38)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Israel’s Assaults: Self-defense or Aggression? 18 hours ago | (2)

Israel’s Assaults: Self-defense or Aggression?

Over the past three weeks, the Israeli military more
Barzani: America, Turkey will not block Kurdish independence 6/7/2014 | (66)

Barzani: America, Turkey will not block Kurdish independence

Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s autonomous more
Muslims Challenge Caliphate Claim 6/7/2014 | (26)

Muslims Challenge Caliphate Claim

A man identified in an online video as Abu Bakr more
0.515 seconds