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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Syria Rebels “Beheaded a Christian and Fed Him to the Dogs” as Fears Grow over Islamist Atrocities

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

LONDON (ANS) -- Syrian rebels beheaded a Christian man and fed his body to dogs, according to a nun who says the West is ignoring atrocities committed by Islamic extremists.

According to a story by Nick Fagge for Britain’s Daily Mail, the nun said taxi driver Andrei Arbashe, 38, was kidnapped after his brother was heard complaining that fighters against the ruling regime behaved like bandits.

She said his headless corpse was found by the side of the road, surrounded by hungry dogs. He had recently married and was soon to be a father.

The Mail reported that Sister Agnes-Miriam de la Croix said, “His only crime was his brother criticized the rebels, accused them of acting like bandits, which is what they are.”

According to The Mail, there have been a growing number of accounts of atrocities carried out by rogue elements of the Syrian Free Army, which opposes dictator Bashar al-Assad and is recognized by Britain and the West as the legitimate leadership.

Sister Agnes-Miriam, mother superior of the Monastery of St. James the Mutilated, has condemned Britain and the west for supporting the rebels despite growing evidence of human rights abuses. Murder, kidnaping, rape and robbery are becoming commonplace, The Mail reported she said.

“The free and democratic world is supporting extremists,” The Mail reported Sister Agnes-Miriam said from her sanctuary in Lebanon. “They want to impose Sharia Law and create an Islamic state in Syria.”

The Mail said the 60-year-old Carmelite nun claims the west has turned a blind eye to growing evidence of a “fifth column” of fanatics within the rag-tag ranks that make up the Free Syrian Army that they back to oust Assad.

One of the most effective fighting forces is the Jabat Al-Nusra, which has an ideology similar to Al Qaeda.

“The uprising has been hijacked by Islamist mercenaries who are more interested in fighting a holy war than in changing the government,” The Mail reported she said.

She added, “It has turned into a sectarian conflict. One in which Christians are paying a high price.”

The Mail said the rebels attacked the northern town of Ras Al-Ayn, on the Turkish border, last Nov. The fighters entered the Christian quarter, ordering civilians to leave and leaving their homes.

“More than 200 families were driven out in the night,” The Mail reported Sister Agnes-Miriam says. “People are afraid. Everywhere the deaths squads stop civilians, abduct them and ask for ransom; sometimes they kill them.”

Militants wearing black bandanas of Al Qaeda recently laid siege to the Monastery of St James the Mutilated, located between Damascus and Homs, for two days in an attempt to prevent Christmas celebrations, The Mail reported the nun claimed.

An estimated 300,000 Christians have been displaced in the conflict, with 80,000 forced out of the Homs region alone, she added.

Many have fled abroad raising fears that Syria’s Christian community may vanish - like others across Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity.

The Mail reported that Al Assad, a member of the Alawite Muslim sect, claims only his regime can protect Syria’s minorities from domination from the Sunni Muslims majority.

Meanwhile the fighting continues to rage with government forces retaking control of a key district in the city of Homs.

The Mail reported that the latest violence comes after United Nations peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned of ‘hell’ for Syria if no political solution could be found.

Russia has stated the conflict is becoming increasingly militarized and sectarian, and risks bringing chaos to the whole region.

The Mail said some 44,000 people have been killed since the uprising against the Al Assad regime began in March 2011.



Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City."


Additional details on "Homeless in the City" are available at http://www.homelessinthecity.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at jeremyreynalds@comcast.net.

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