The Syrian Churches are in captivity to Assad

The leaders dare not criticise the regime for fear of the consequences, says Stephen Griffith

FOR generations, the Assad regime has led the ethno-religious minorities in Syria to believe that the regime protected them. It warned that, after him, there would be bloodshed.

Among the first acts of President Bashar al-Assad at the beginning of the uprising was to open the prison gates to let the imprisoned jihadi thugs out. He was creating the chaos which he had predicted, leading to the creation of Islamic State and many other violent groups who would target Christians.

On every Christian feast, for decades, the heads of the Churches in Syria have read out statements praising the Syrian government. They were written by the government. In my days in Damascus, between 1997 and 2002, I sometimes heard them read badly; but, as the State Security were in the church, no comment was possible.

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