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

 

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
1595 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

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

What You Say

Kurdish Patriot | 11/27/2014 1:11:24 AM
Proud to be born Kurdish!!!! Her Biji Kurd!! Her Biji Peshmerga!! Kurdaity is in our blood!!! Yeah!!!!
MN | 11/27/2014 1:18:01 AM
I wonder why no other news agency talks about this other than Rudaw? Is this true?
Kurdish forces kill tens of ISIS foreign fighters near Mosul dam
| 5 hours ago | (4)
Mat Ashor | 11/27/2014 1:02:14 AM
At least he came to his senses, though last minute, better late than pulling the trigger
Kurdish Assassins | 11/27/2014 1:08:32 AM
@iraqi warrior... where is this so called imaginary Iraq of yours? Are people mixed? happy living together? Partying together? Do you see many mixed...
Failed Kurdish suicide bomber: ‘I just didn’t want to do it’
| 10 hours ago | (12)
Yitro Gabus | 11/25/2014 8:52:57 PM
Notice the great hypocrisy of the Turks who keep PKK on the terror list but do pamper their friends Muslim brotherhood and HAMAS...Do they lack...
Mat Ashor | 11/27/2014 1:07:00 AM
You guys realize that this means bowing down to the USA right? If you don't sign your soul to the USA, there won't be any help from them.
US shift towards the Kurds too slow, expert says
| yesterday at 06:27 | (12)
Ibrahim | 11/26/2014 5:19:41 PM
Thank you PUK for allowing Kurds' enemies liberate Kurdish city of Saadiya so that it remains î their dirty hands. You fm have betrayed the people of...
xthat | 11/27/2014 1:06:40 AM
I just hope the people in Washington hear what the Shiite are saying, and take the the necessary action to protect are national interest. 1. That...
Shiite militia commander: No Kurdish force took part in Saadiya liberation
| 16 hours ago | (8)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Kurdish town hopes Americans will return to abandoned air base 12/11/2014 | (13)

Kurdish town hopes Americans will return to abandoned air base

Speculation circulates that Harir will host a new more
Bringing Silicon Valley to Erbil: teaching Kurds to “do world domination” 11/11/2014 | (16)

Bringing Silicon Valley to Erbil: teaching Kurds to “do world domination”

Swedish start-up coach offers advice to more
Despite rising violence, hope remains for Turkey-PKK peace talks, think-tank says 7/11/2014 | (14)

Despite rising violence, hope remains for Turkey-PKK peace talks, think-tank says

Peace talks not yet broken, report shows. more
0.828 seconds