Kidnappings, rapes, and trafficking of Syrian refugees

Article from the Vatican’s Pontifical Missions news service, Fides.

’My son and my husband were both viciously killed, shot in the head by terrorists, Islamists.’.....‘Our only crime is being Christians.’ See report Between the Barbed Wire. Click on photo to go to the report.
’My son and my husband were both viciously killed, shot in the head by terrorists, Islamists.’.....‘Our only crime is being Christians.’ See report Between the Barbed Wire. Click on photo to go to the report.

London (Agenzia Fides) - The conflict in Syria deteriorates and affects all Syrian citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion. But, as in any war, the situation of minorities is the worst: the Christian minorities have become an easy target for criminals and terrorists who use kidnappings, rapes, and organize the trafficking of refugees. This is what is said in a note sent to Fides Agency by the non-governmental organization "Minority Rights Group" (MRG), with its headquarters in London, which each year draws up a detailed report on the condition of ethnic, religious, cultural minorities, throughout the world.

After an extensive survey conducted among refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and talks with Syrian refugees who arrived in Europe, the organization also denounced, in particular, the plight of the refugees of the Christian religion, giving voice "to a silent minority who tell harrowing stories of rapes, kidnappings and human trafficking."

As reported to Fides, the majority of refugees reached by the NGO "Minority Rights Group" express a desire to leave the Middle East and argues that, for this project, it has entered in contact with gangs of human traffickers. "There is today a thriving multi-million dollar business, developed around the refugee crisis in Syria," notes the NGO, telling some specific cases and trade put in place by the smugglers. A refugee was able to "buy a Swedish passport for $ 7,000," while in Lebanon a "mafia of false visas and false stamps," is being organized, which illicit organizations provide to refugees to enable them to continue their journey to Europe.

Also, in some parts of Syria – say some of the refugees who fled from Mesopotamia - "a Christian cannot report crimes or injustices any more. We are hostages of the growth of militant Islamism, and being a Christian is enough to be a target."

Assyrian and Syriac Christian refugees report that sectarian violence suffered by Christians in Deir Ezzor or Hassake, in Mesopotamia, after the arrival of the bands of rebels, remember cold-blooded murder, kidnapping and rape of Christian women. "Do they want to empty the Christians from Syria?" They wonder. Some priests of the Assyrian Christian community express "grave concern for the future of Christians in Syria, as many prefer to emigrate to escape the violence. His Beatitude Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Orthodox Syrian Church, said: "We do not want them to leave the country, but the important thing is that they live in peace and that God is with them, whatever they do and wherever they are." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/02/2013)


This article is based on the report "Between The Barbed Wire" by Swedish/Assyrian journalist Nuri Kino. See Reports page


Note: Illustration and description added by this blog



Petition to Journalists asking for responsible and accountable reporting on Syria. Please sign

H.E. The Sunni Grand Mufti of Syria, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun - I am the Mufti of all Syrians – Sunni Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Druze – of all the diversity of sects we had before the war. There is no choice other than reconciliation."

H.B. John X Yazigi, Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch -

The Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch in Syria, John Yazigi, says Syrian Christians "will not submit and yield" to foreign-backed extremist militants who attack "our people and holy places."

H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, Sunni Grand Mufti of Lebanon - “Christians’ fears nowadays over their presence and their dignity in the Middle East are right and justified”

H.B Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch - The West and other countries are helping to foment conflict in the Middle East "there is a plan to destroy the Arab world for political and economic interests"

H.E Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, Deputy President of the Higher Shiite Council Lebanon - Called on the U.S to “work on giving people their freedom in Syria by refraining from supporting radical Islamists and criminals who are killing innocent people and violating their freedoms.

 H.B. Gregorios III Laham, Melkite greek-Catholic Patriarch of Antioch - "Every day Islamic extremists from all over the world are pouring into Syria with the sole intent to kill and not one country has done anything to stop them."

H.H. Mor Ignatios Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (R.I.P.) - "Syrians are the only ones who will decide their destiny, and that decision will be taken in Damascus, not in a European country."

H.H. Mor Ignatius Ephrem II Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch -  “Christians and Muslims alike are exposed to a terrorist war in the region”.... the Patriarch denounced the silence of the world regarding crimes committed by armed terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

H.B. Youssef III Younan,  Syriac Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch - "We Syrian Christians, sold by the West for oil” - "Christians in the Middle East have not only been abandoned, but we have been lied to and betrayed by Western nations, like the United States and the European Union."

H.B. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, “Who appointed them [United States] as ‘policemen of democracy’ in the Middle East? ”

H.E. Maroun Laham, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan  - “This interest, on the part of the United States or of Europe, for human rights or for the defence of the weak, no one believes. No one believes it!,”

H.E. Jacques Behnan Hindo,  Syriac Catholic Archbishop ofHassaké-Nisibi (northeastern Syria) - Regarding the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabuis “Please excuse my expression. They are screwing all Syrians

H.E. Theodosius Hanna, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia (Nablus, Palestine) - "Will the displacement of Christians from Syria, their killing and slaughter and the destruction of their churches lead to an alleged democracy?"

Rev. Georges Massouh Antiochian Orthodox priest and director of the Christian Muslim Studies Center at Balamand University, Lebanon. "It goes without saying that Christians in Syria do not consider themselves greater or more important that their Muslim partners in the one nation. They find themselves in solidarity with all the people of Syria, in the calamities that they share and the strikes that fall upon all their heads."