Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Christians expelled from Homs

From the Syrian secularist website al-Haqiqa. Arabic original here.
For more information about the Islamist makeup of the "Free Syrian Army" from a source generally sympathetic to the rebels, see here.
For an excellent analysis of the bias and misinformation about Syria in American media, see here.

Armed men from the Faruq Brigade have succeeded in expelling most of the Christians of Homs and have seized their homes by force.

Al-Haqiqa has learned from church sources in Homs that the city has been emptied of almost 90% of its Christians. It is expected that a complete "cleansing" of buildings owned by Christians will occur within a matter of days or weeks by armed men from the Wahhabi "Faruq Brigade." A source in the Orthodox metropolitan's office told al-Haqiqa that armed men from the Faruq Brigade went to the homes of the Christians, house by house, in the neighborhoods of Hamidiya and Bustan el-Diwan, informing them that they must immediately leave their homes and the city of Homs. The source revealed that the lastest attempt to expel Christians by force of arms occured yesterday. It included Dr. Taleb Mashhour Gharibeh, professor of mathematics at Baath University in Homs, his brother the musician Marwan Mashhour Gharibeh (a musician in Sabah Fakhri's group), both of whom live in the Hamidiya neighborhood, their sister Marie Mashhour Gharibeh, who lives in the Bustan el-Diwan neighborhood, as well as their father and his wife the schoolteacher Maha Habou, who live in the new neighborhood el-Wa'ar. This wave of expulsions also included the residents of a six-story building in Hamidiya, whose residents include eighteen families, almost all of whom are from the village Uyoun el-Wadi.

The church sources said that the armed men informed the owners of the homes before they departed that if they did not leave immediately they would be shot and pictures of their corpses would be sent to al-Jazeera with the message that the government had killed them. The source emphasized that all those who were expelled "were not allowed to take any of their possessions with them, not even extra clothes. Immediately after they left their homes, the buildings were occupied by armed men who considered it 'war-booty from the Christians!'" 

It should be noted that the Faruq Brigade is operated by armed elements from al-Qaeda and various Wahhabi groups and it includes mercenaries from Libya and Iraq. Last month they destroyed two churches with rocket fire, burning one and severely damaging the other.


Anonymous said...

My name is Redwan Ruben-Elias Maalouf. My family is from Uyoun el-Wadi. My Father was born there in 1901 in Uyoun-Al-Wadi,and came to America around 1913. I am sad about what is happening. God help the Christians

Terry (John) said...

I spent a night in Homs almost 4 years ago. I walked around the city and remember seeing the large Orthodox church and school there. I am not suprised by this report--it is exactly what I feared from this revolt.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about these reports that claim it was the government's troops that expelled the Christians in Homs?

Thank you so much for this blog and all the work you put into it!

/Benjamin (in Sweden)

Samn! said...


That particular website is run by a small group of anti-government Christians who live in the US but have close connections to the Syrian National Council, and so I find their report to be untrustworthy and the general tenor of their website to be purely propagandistic.

The ethnic cleansing of Homs' Christians at the hands of the Free Syrian Army has been documented by a number of sources with different political orientations-- the first website to report it was al-Haqiqa, which is anti-regime, but secularist and thus also opposed to the SNC. It was sourced to the Orthodox Mutraniyya in Homs. Other reports, coming from the Catholic Agenzia Fides confirmed this, as has a whole string of reports coming from the Protestant missionary group the Barnabas Fund.

Throughout this revolt, much obvious misinformation has been spread by the rebels, and they have consistently blamed their own crimes on the regime, which is not to say that the Syrian Army hasn't committed crimes as well. (I'm still galled by the fact that casualty reports coming out of Syria in the western media all list armed rebels as "civilians" for the purposes of casualty reports).

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for these comments, and your additional links today..