Syria: “Besides the war on the ground, a media war is unfolding”

Source: FSSPX News

Abp. Mario Zenari Apostolic Nuncio to Damascus

In an interview granted to the Catholic press service AsiaNews on June 7, Bishop Giuseppe Nazzaro, Vicar Apostolic of Alep, forthrightly condemns the massacre committed in Mazraat al-Qbeir and Maarzaf, in the suburb of Hama.  The Italian bishop assigned to Alep, a city in the Northwest of the country, also cites the massacre in Houla this past May 26 and denounces a veritable campaign to destroy Syria:  “The United Nations (UN) have a moral duty to verify the circumstances as well as the perpetrators of these crimes, and what is behind these odious massacres.”  Fury against the regime of Bashar al-Assad is fueling the spiral of violence and preventing the population and the government from finding an opportunity for a gradual transition toward democracy and reforms, he declared.

The Catholic bishop points out that the Syrian people, which is being subjected to the bloody campaigns of Islamic extremists who have infiltrated the country, has no voice to express itself in the media and consequently is becoming increasingly isolated.  “The UN and the Western countries,” he stated, “do not realize that with their sanctions and their support for the rebels they are causing more casualties than the regime does.”  “Those who want to destroy Assad—Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as the other Gulf States—rule their own countries with an iron hand without any respect for human rights and religious freedom.  Why, to this day, has no one ever condemned the violent acts against the Shiites in Bahrain or the arrest and sentencing of Christian migrants in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait?”

On May 4, Bp. Nazzaro likewise denounced the presence of Libya and Turkish agitators among the students of Alep, provoking the attack of the Syrian army against the University in that city.  He asserted that foreign Islamist militants have been trying for months to cause insurrection at the universities of Alep, for the purpose of stirring up violence in that city, which is the only one still spared confrontations between the regime and the rebels.

The agency Fides explained on June 15 that its sources confirm the presence of radical Islamist Salafist groups that “intend to fight a war of religion”.  These people consider Christians as renegades, confiscate their property, carry out summary executions and are ready to unleash a sectarian war.  Similarly, Fides added on June 26, the regular army is said to have struck Houla, because of the many Salafist militants and terrorists who had burned down the national hospital in the city, causing a great number of casualties, and had then used civilians as human shields.

Syria is experiencing “a slow descent into hell,” Abp. Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio to Damascus, declared on June 12.  The country is running the risk of an explosion of hatred between opposing factions that will last for decades, the representative of the Holy See explained to the Catholic press agency AsiaNews in Rome.  News of massacres, torture and violence is reechoed by the media throughout the world, he stressed, with the risk of “exploitation by the two parties in conflict”.  The international community and the UN must do everything in their power to defend these innocent victims, who are exploited both by the regime and by the rebels.  Unfortunately, he added, “besides the war on the ground, a media war is unfolding in which one no longer knows whom to believe.”

For Abp. Zenari, “the international community and the Christian countries must not isolate Syria.  To support the conflict between the regime and the rebels is dangerous and counterproductive.”

On June 21, Abp. Antoine Audo, Archbishop of Alep, explained to the agency  “From outside, the West is always worried about wars of religion.  There is nothing against the Christians as such, as some would have us think.  No, there may be extremist elements, but the problem in Syria is a denominational problem, between a Muslim majority and a Muslim minority that are in conflict.  Nevertheless, when there are situations of violence and anarchy, it is always the Christian minorities that pay the price.  For they do not have militias and do not want to be armed.”  (Sources : apic/asianews/fides/imedia – DICI no.258 dated July 20, 2012)

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