Stop the International War of Genocide on Syrians Catholic Patriarch Demands*
By Haifa Said
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Gregorios III Laham called for stopping the “international war of genocide” against Syria.
He was speaking in a statement condemning a terrorist massacre that was committed against civilians in Qalb Lawze village in the countryside of Idleb province.
At least 30 residents of the village were killed at the hands of terrorists from “Jabhat al-Nusra” and “Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement” on Wednesday night. Five of those killed were members of one family.
The terrorists also looted and burned tens of houses.
The Patriarch expressed in his statement “deep sorrow” over the killing of “innocent people” in Idleb.
“We raise our voices loud and clear in the face of the criminal organizations and in the face of the Arab world and the European world,” said the Patriarch, referring to the involvement of some Arab and Western countries in supporting the terrorists in Syria and the silence of other countries on the crimes committed there.
He dismissed what is going on in “dear Syria” as “an international war of genocide,” calling on those sides to stop this war.
The Holy Synod of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church meeting in Syria regretted the international silence on the terrorist and vandalism acts taking place in Syria and Iraq.
In the final statement issued on Saturday at the end of its regular session of 2015, held in Maaret Saidnaya town near Damascus, the Synod referred to the destruction of archeological and historical sites and holy worship places in the two neighbouring countries at the hands of terrorists.
It also referred to the abduction of the two Aleppo bishops John Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, who have been held in terrorists’ captivity since April, 2013.
The statement called on the international community and decision-makers in the world to work for establishing peace in the region, vowing adherence to living in fraternity and commitment to the homeland.
Two days ago, the Synod delegation met with President Bashar al-Assad to whom they expressed their belief that Syria will remain, as it has always been, a homeland for all of the Syrians with their various affiliations and “a sanctuary” for all those who believe in the generous values of humanity in spite of the ferocious terrorist war waged against the country.
They considered holding this year’s session of the Synod in the Syrian town of Saidnaya at this time as carrying a message of support for the Syrian people.
In the Synod’s final session, Patriarch of Antioch for the Syriac Catholic Church Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan called for the unity of the Antioch church in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All East Mar Ignatius Afram II, for his part, said the meeting’s objective was to discuss the affairs of the Syrians who are passing through tough times, hoping that Syria will return as it once was, a country of peace and stability.
He said the Christians have their roots running deep in Syria and Iraq.
“No one can imagine this part of the world, particularly Syria and Iraq, without the Christian component,” he added.
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All East John X Yazigi said “gatherings are what Christian life is all about,” imploring God for peace to prevail in Syria again.
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All EastGregory III Laham said faith is an integral part of the peaceful solutions to world crises, indicating that the world “has to find a way other than war.”
Earlier today, the participants in Saidnaya meetings, which started on June 8, held a prayer for peace to prevail in Syria at St. Peter & Paul Cathedral of St Ephrem’s Monastery, where the meetings took place.
Patriarch Mor Ignatius II of Antioch and All The East, who is the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, performed the prayers along with Patriarch John X (Yazigi), Patriarch Gregorios III (Laham) and Patriarch Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan.
Less than two days after the Syrian army’s airstrikes against ISIL leaders’ gathering centres in Raqqah province, similar massive strikes were waged against the terrorist groups’ commanders in Deir Ezzur.
Syrian sources reported on Tuesday that the air force targeted an ISIL position in Hatlah town in Deir Ezzur, where leaders of the terrorist group had gathered for strategic coordination.
Early tips from informants in ISIL camps disclosed that a large group of ringleaders, mainly from Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, have been killed in the raid.
The sources named the ringleaders as Abu Qasourah al-Saudi, Mostafa Sharif al-Abdallah, Hamed al-Hamoud, Ahmad Rahal, Ala Mostafa, Walid al-Ma’youf, Sarhan al-Abdallah, Majed Abdussalam and Nawaf al-Basiri.
Syrian fighter jets had hit ISIL positions in Raqqa province and managed to kill tens of high-profile Takfiri commanders in the area on Monday as well.
A senior Syrian military commander, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that tens of terrorists were killed in Ayid Saqir region in Raqqa province on Monday after the Syrian warplanes heavily targeted their positions.
Sham Times news website, meantime, reported that the Syrian security and intelligence forces had obtained intel about the concentration camps of ISIL commanders. In a similar operation last week, Syrian warplanes killed 140 ISIL terrorists in Raqqa province.
The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.
Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country. ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.