An exodus of Christians is taking place in Western Syria: the Christian population has fled the city of Qusayr, near Homs, following an ultimatum issued by the military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba.
since the conflict broke out, only a thousand of the city’s ten thousand faithful, were left and they are now being forced to flee immediately. Some of the city’s mosques have issued the message again, announcing from the minarets: “Christians must leave Qusayr within six days, ending Friday.” The ultimatum therefore expired on 8 June and
spread fear among the Christian population
Many of Syria’s Christians continue to stand by the regime not out of support for Assad but out of fear of civil war if rebels gain strength, or worse, if they win and install an Islamist government hostile to religious minorities.
The New York Times recently reported on the endangered status of those refugees from Iraq as well as Syria’s other minorities. All are threatened with being caught in the middle of a civil war.
But the region’s minorities increasingly risk becoming expendable collateral damage in the open-ended civil war in Syria. Many of Syria’s ruling Alawites – and their Kurd, Assyrian, Maronite Christian, Greek Catholic and Orthodox fellow minorities, indeed even the prudent Druze – feel caught in a vicious zero-sum game.
The minorities listed — fittingly — in the middle of that group (Assyrian, Maronite Christian, Greek Catholic, and Orthodox) are all Christians. And their plight points up the fact that Christians are being ethnically cleansed throughout the Middle East.