Media reports present the Syrian conflict as a battle waged by President Bashar al-Assad against his people struggling for human rights, but Christian observers warn the situation is much more complicated, with foreign interests — including al-Qaeda — playing key roles.
“The situation is much more complex and difficult to assess than the media in the West make it out to be,” Father Andrew Halemba, Middle East projects co-ordinator for Aid to the Church in Need, told Zenit.
“They seem to be ignoring that there are also internal power struggles and religious tensions between the different Muslim groups, tribal feuds and acts of vengeance are a daily occurrence, and crime is rising in the country due to the unstable situation.
“We are witnesses to vulgar falsehoods that brazenly and shamelessly inflate a small demonstration involving around 50 people into a major demonstration with hundreds or even thousands of persons,” Father Halemba said.
“The photos are patched together from different pieces using image processing software in studios created especially for this purpose.”
The Franciscans in Syria called on foreign powers to stop sending arms to the country after a reported 200 civilians were massacred in the village of Tremseh on July 12.
“It is a tragedy, the news is confusing, truth is the first victim,” Father Romualdo Fernandez, director of the Ecumenical Centre of Tabbaleh, told the Vatican’s Fides news agency.
“If foreign powers continue to arm and finance the warring parties, the war will continue and victims will increase.”
Syria’s 10% Christian minority, who have enjoyed protected status under President Assad, generally support his regime. They have also had peaceful relations with the various elements of the Muslim population.
But a Jesuit priest recently expelled from Syria, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, said Christians seem to have traded civil rights and hopes for the country’s improvement for a “controlled” religious freedom.
And last April the Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, said the regime had no future and clerics who fervently defended Assad were wrong to do so.
News category: World News.