Barnabas Aid - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Deliberate attacks on churches by rebels...

Email:

Deliberate attacks on churches by rebels in Syria condemned as war crimes

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Deliberate attacks on churches by rebels in Syria condemned as war crimes

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Syria

Human Rights Watch has condemned opposition groups in Syria for “unjustified attacks against minority places of worship”, saying that these amount to war crimes.

Numerous churches in Syria have been destroyed
Numerous churches in Syria
have been destroyed

The leading human rights organisation released on 23 January the findings of investigations it carried out in Latakia and Idlib governorates in November and December 2012.

It found evidence that opposition fighters had “deliberately destroyed religious sites” and that the attacks had been carried out after the areas had fallen to opposition control and government forces had left.

Churches were raided by armed gunmen after they seized control of the Christian villages of Jdeideh and Ghasaniyeh in Latakia.

They took control of the former on 11 December and, once the government troops had fled, broke into the village church; they stole items and fired numerous shots inside, causing structural damage. The rebels also used the minister’s quarters next to the church to fire at a neighbouring village, where government troops were present.

One resident told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters stole medicine from a church-run clinic, looted homes and kidnapped civilians.

Events in Ghasaniyeh followed a similar pattern. Rebels entered the village in late November, broke into the local church and stole petrol and diesel fuel. They looted homes and kidnapped one resident.

The violence and dire humanitarian conditions in Jdeideh and Ghasaniyeh drove Christians to flee the villages in large numbers.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said:

The destruction of religious sites is furthering sectarian fears and compounding the tragedies of the country… Syria will lose its rich cultural and religious diversity if armed groups do not respect places of worship.

The opposition in Syria should back up its claims that it will uphold minority rights by protecting places of worship, and more generally ensuring that gunmen acting in its name respect civilians and civilian properties.

The group said that, under international humanitarian law, parties in an armed conflict have a responsibility not intentionally to attack religious buildings that are not being used for military purposes, adding, “Deliberate attacks on religious sites that are not military objectives are war crimes.”

Barnabas Fund has been reporting deliberate attacks on churches and other Christian targets, as well as the kidnap and murder of Christians, by opposition forces in Syria for many months. We have compiled a categorised timeline of anti-Christian incidents that dates back to almost the very beginning of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.  

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Deliberate attacks on churches by rebels in Syria condemned as war crimes

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Almighty God, we call to You for relief for Christians in the Gwoza area of Borno state in Northern Nigeria, as they face repeated violent attacks by Boko Haram militants. We pray for comfort for the relatives and friends of the hundreds who have been killed, and for the thousands who have been forced from their homes and seen them torched. We ask for Your special protection on Christians as they gather to worship You. We pray for the Nigerian authorities to re-establish control of the area, so that the displaced Christians may be safe from further attacks and free to rebuild their shattered communities. We pray too for their persecutors to come to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 15 hours ago

    • “This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution. Allah says we should finish them when we get them.” The leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram was speaking in a video that reasserted their agenda and addressed “the people of the world”, saying, “Either you are with us Mujahedeen or you are with the Christians.” The translation of the video was released as scores of people were killed in suicide bombings in May, including at least 118 in a double attack in Jos, Plateau state on 20 May. Pray that Boko Haram’s murderous campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria will not succeed. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for Bible school students in Vietnam who were subjected to a terrifying night-time raid by police and hired thugs. On 9 June, officers swooped from adjacent rooftops into the church compound that houses the school, while vehicle-loads of people were brought to the site to vandalise the building with bricks, stones and sticks. The students were beaten, punched and kicked before being taken away for interrogation; 20 were left in need of medical attention but were prevented from leaving to find it. Thugs continued to attack the compound over the next ten nights. Pray for the students as they recover from this brutal assault and that they will stand firm in their faith in the face of intimidation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Aug 2014 00:00

    • In an earlier incident in Saisomboon village, three teenage Christian girls were disqualified from taking their final school examinations because of their faith. The village chief said that in following Christianity, Noi (15), Net (15) and Nut (14) had forfeited their right to education. Five families from the village have now converted to Christianity. A spokesman for Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom expressed the view that the authorities were trying to find every possible way “to stop the spread of Christian religious freedom in the area”. Pray that the girls will be allowed to complete their education and that opposition to the Christians in the village will cease. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Aug 2014 00:00

    • Five Christians have been charged with murder in Laos after a sick woman sought prayer at her local church, converted to Christianity and later died. Mrs Chan, from Saisomboon village in Savannakhet province, had been ill for two years when she approached the church. Her health improved for a short time, and she and her eight grown-up children came to faith in Christ. The sons and daughters wanted a Christian burial ceremony, but the authorities forbade this unless they renounced their faith, which they refused to do. When Christians in the area protested, five were arrested and subsequently charged with Mrs Chan’s murder. Pray that the God of justice will have compassion on His people (Isaiah 30:18) and ensure their acquittal from this false accusation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Aug 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Aid 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Aid is a registered trade mark