As the government of President Bashar Assad cracks down on pro-democracy protests, we speak to the Greek Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo about the growing alarm of local Christians as they watch regional events.
While international news stations have been painting a dire picture of events in Syria, H.E. Jean C. Jeanbart told Vatican Radio's Tracey McClure that local television networks have cast a different picture of the extent of the uprising and crackdown by Syria's military.
But, he notes that some foreign networks have invited fundamentalist “sheiks” to use their channels to rally Muslims to launch a holy war in Syria and as a result, innocent civilians have been caught up in “terrorist” attacks.
“It is an insurrection more than a revolution as they say. Of course, there are many things to be changed in Syria. In Syria we have to move to evolve, to liberalize a few things – but not in this way.”
“We want,” he says, “everybody wants renewal. Everybody wants progress and evolution. Everybody wants more freedom but no one wants civilian war or this kind of violence.”
Archbishop Jeanbart appeals for Christians everywhere to pray for Christians in Syria so that they may continue to live in peace and friendship with the country’s six other religious confessions. He also calls on world religious, politicians and leaders to do everything necessary to encourage Christians to remain in Syria as they have remained faithful to Christ’s witness for the last two thousand years.
Listen to the interview: http://22.214.171.124/audio/ra/00260932.RM or http://126.96.36.199/audiomp3/00260932.MP3