Tag Archives: bashar al assad

Read the words of an Orthodox bishop kidnapped in Syria nearly two years ago :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, who was kidnapped near the Turkish border April 22, 2013. Courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need.

 Aleppo, Syria, Mar 15, 2015 / 06:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On April 22, 2013, both the Greek and Syriac Orthodox archbishops of Aleppo, Boulos Yazigi and Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, were kidnapped in Syria near the Turkish border. Their driver, Deacon Fatha’ Allah Kabboud, was killed.

Today, 23 months later, the bishops remain missing – though for some time it has been rumored that only one of them is still alive.

The bishops were abducted on their way back from the Turkish border, where they were negotiating the release of two priests, Fathers Michael Kayyal and Maher Mahfouz, who had themselves been kidnapped in February 2013.

Archbishop Ibrahim and Archbishop Yazigi are only two of the multitude of victims of the Syrian civil war, which today is entering its fifth year.

The war has claimed the lives of more than 220,000 people. There are 3.9 million Syrian refugees in nearby countries, most of them in Turkey and Lebanon, and an additional 8 million Syrian people are believed to have been internally displaced by the war.

On March 15, 2011, demonstrations sprang up in Syria protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad, the nation’s president and leader of its Ba’ath Party. The next month, the Syrian army began to deploy to put down the uprisings, firing on protesters.

Since then, the violence has morphed into a civil war which is being fought among the Syrian regime and a number of rebel groups: the rebels include moderates, such as the Free Syrian Army; Islamists such as al-Nusra Front and Islamic State; and Kurdish separatists.

Only about a week before his kidnapping, two years into the war, Archbishop Ibrahim had told BBC Arabic that Syrian Christians are in the same situation as their Muslim neighbors: “There is no persecution of Christians and there is no single plan to kill Christians. Everyone respects Christians. Bullets are random and not targeting the Christians because they are Christians.”

Archbishop Ibrahim had written a book in Arabic in 2006 called “Accepting the Other.” At that time, before the start of the war, Syrians of different religions lived together in peace.

An excerpt of this work, focused on “the dialogue of life,” was translated into English for Aid to the Church in Need and appears below thanks to that international Catholic charity, which has pledged $2.8 million in emergency aid for the Christians of Syria:

The plurality of religions and faiths does not foment an inter-religious conflict due to the fact that the common denominator of its teachings, heritages and ethics affirms the oneness of God and the multiplicity and integrity of its people.

Whenever Christians and Muslims approach the sources of divine teaching, they may feel that their common heritage is part and parcel of the universal belief of the relationship between man (the weak) and the Creator (the mighty). Christians say we have one God and Muslim say there is no God but God.

From this understanding of our common heritages derived the concept of the “Dialogue of Life” – to which we owe our peaceful coexistence and the flourishing of our communities. However, even given the rich ethno-religious diversity of our communal tapestry, it is not at all like the concept of multiculturalism that is emerging in Western society.

The “Dialogue of life” is a rather simple, spontaneous, and natural way of life – a sort of coexistence sustained by the values of solidarity, humanity, impartiality and accepting the other unconditionally. Some may argue that our “Dialogue of Life” draws on the principles outlined in the Geneva Convention. Not so, our “Dialogue” has its own unwritten codes, whose values far predate this relatively new Western concept of dialogue and coexistence.

via Read the words of an Orthodox bishop kidnapped in Syria nearly two years ago :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

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this pressed: Putin in Turkey Amid Syria Differences (Him and Pope Francis!)


Putin in Turkey Amid Syria Differences

Putin will be welcomed at Erdogan‘s new mega-palace that has drawn the ire of Turkish opposition parties, environmentalists and activists who say the 1,000-room complex is too costly and extravagant and went ahead despite a court ruling. Putin is the second foreign dignitary to receive an official welcome at the palace, after Pope Francis who visited on Friday.

01/12/2014 13:21 by: ABC News: Top

via Putin in Turkey Amid Syria Differences.

this pressed: Flash – Turkey’s Erdogan attacks US ‘impertinence’ on Syria – France 24


AFP/File | US-led air strikes have prevented Islamic State militants from capturing the Syrian border town of Kobane

26 November 2014 – 14H45

Turkey‘s Erdogan attacks US ‘impertinence’ on Syria

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ISTANBUL (AFP) –

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday slammed US “impertinence” on the Syrian conflict, exposing the extent of strains between Washington and Ankara days after his key meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden.

Ties between the the US and Turkey have soured in recent months over the reluctance of Turkish leaders to intervene militarily in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State jihadists, who have taken control of swathes of Iraq and Syria.

In an indication of the tensions that remain between the two NATO allies, Erdogan accused the US of being “impertinent” for pressuring it to help save the besieged Syrian town of Kobane, which is within sight of the Turkish border.

“Why is somebody coming to this region from 12,000 kilometres (7,000 miles) away?” Erdogan said during an address to a group of businessmen in Ankara, in a clear reference to the US.

“I want you to know that we are against impertinence, recklessness and endless demands,” he said.

Biden had personally stung Erdogan last month by suggesting his policies in supporting Islamist rebel forces in Syria had helped encourage the rise of the IS militant group, a slight that prompted Erdogan to warn his relationship with the US number two could be “history”.

Washington is pressing Ankara for the use of the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey by US jets launching assaults on IS.

via Flash – Turkey’s Erdogan attacks US ‘impertinence’ on Syria – France 24.

FOCUS – ‘These are children, not terrorists,’ say Belgian parents of Syria jihadists – France 24


to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

FOCUS

FOCUS

Syria

jihad

Belgium

Latest update : 2014-01-31

‘These are children, not terrorists,’ say Belgian parents of Syria jihadists

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This week, two French teenagers were arrested trying to reach Syria to join fighting against President Bashar al-Assad. Three men from Paris went on trial on Thursday on similar charges. Now Belgian parents tell France 24 about losing their children to jihad.

It is a situation not unique to France. Young people from all across Europe have travelled to Syria to join the ‘Holy War’ against Assad, often leaving without warning, their parents unaware to their sons’ and daughters’ plans to become soldiers in a foreign land.

In Belgium, an estimated 300 citizens have left their country for the Syrian battlegrounds. Many parents believe their children, young and impressionable, have been manipulated into taking up the jihadist cause.

Gathered in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, a group of mothers with children in Syria have staged a protest to press the authorities into tackling the problem.

They are making a stand against what they claim is a lack of action by the authorities.

“We’re the parents of jihad fighters, of terrorists. People are afraid of them, of us. But we’re not the ones who’ve sent our children over there,” says Veronique, one of several protesters wearing masks they say symbolise “misunderstanding”.

“Our children were tricked into this,” says another. “They didn’t go to Syria of their own free will. I mean: it’s not normal, that a kid who had no problems finds himself over there, that’s not normal. These are children, Belgian children… They’re not terrorists!”

via FOCUS – ‘These are children, not terrorists,’ say Belgian parents of Syria jihadists – France 24.

word: tacit


tacit 

Definition: (adjective) Implied by or inferred from actions or statements.
Synonyms: understood, silent
Usage: Management has given its tacit approval to the plan. Discuss.

THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: UK CALLS OFF THE TODDLERS’ TRUCE (1957)


UK Calls Off the Toddlers’ Truce (1957)

Today we are used to turning on the television at any hour of the day or night and having access to countless channels broadcasting all manner of program, but this was not always the case. In television’s early days, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was the UK’s sole public broadcaster; it started out with just one channel, and it cut its feed from 6PM to 7PM to accommodate parents putting their children to bed. What caused the BBC to eventually abandon the so-called Toddlers’ Truce?More… Discuss

 

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NEWS: UN: HALF OF SYRIANS NOW IN URGENT NEED OF AID


UN: Half of Syrians Now in Urgent Need of Aid

The situation in Syria is dire. According to UN estimates, half of the Syrian population is in urgent need of aid. The bloody uprising that began in 2011 has claimed more than 100,000 lives and displaced millions. Some 2.3 million people have fled Syria for neighboring countries, and more than twice this number are displaced within the country. About 9.3 million Syrians, nearly half of whom are children, are now in desperate need of assistance. The UN is appealing to the international community for $6.5 billion (£4 billion), the largest UN appeal for a single cause to date. More… Discuss

 

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Canada breaks off relations with Iran Published on 8 September 2012 – 2:46am on Radio Netherland Worldwide


 

SATURDAY 8 SEPTEMBER RNW – NEWS AND ANALYSIS FROM THE NETHERLANDS IN 10 LANGUAGES, WORLDWIDE 24/7 ON RADIO, TV AND ONLINE

Canada breaks off relations with Iran

Published on 8 September 2012 – 2:46am

Canada closed its Tehran embassy and ordered Iranian diplomats be expelled, in a damning severance of ties in which it accused the Islamic Republic of being the biggest threat to world peace.

Canada did not cite a specific incident that caused the breakdown, but issued a strongly worded attack on Tehran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s pariah regime and Iran’s “incitement to genocide” against Israel.

In announcing the action, Ottawa cited concerns for the safety of its staff at the diplomatic mission in Tehran and also attacked the failure of Iran’s rulers to account for the nation’s disputed nuclear program.

“Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement.

“Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran have been suspended. All Canadian diplomatic staff have left Iran, and Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been instructed to leave within five days,” he added.

Baird also warned Canadians, including dual nationals, that Ottawa will not be able to provide assistance to them if they travel to Iran, and advised any Canadians in Iran to contact the Canadian mission in Turkey if needed.

Canada’s action did not prompt an immediate reaction from Tehran, but Iran had threatened “reciprocal action” in May, when Canada closed the visa section in its Iranian embassy, one used by thousands of Iranians with ties to Canada.

Ottawa’s move has gotten support from some of its allies in the West, who allege that the nuclear program aims to give Tehran a nuclear bomb, and have accused the “Iranian regime” of promoting international terrorism.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Canada for cutting diplomatic relations, calling the decision “courageous” and “an example to the international community.”

The US State Department said it “shared Canada’s concerns” regarding Iran’s support for the Syrian regime, its human rights record and its nuclear program.

“We want all countries to join us in isolating Iran as they see appropriate,” added State Department deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell, adding “there are many different ways they can do that.”

An estimated 120,000 people of Iranian origin or descent live in Canada, according to official 2006 census data, and thousands of their relatives in Iran visit them every year.

Despite worsening relations, however, Ottawa’s decision to cut all ties was surprising, Houchang Hassan-Yari, a Royal Military College of Canada professor, said, noting that as recently as the 1990s, Iran was Canada’s main commercial partner in the Middle East.

Friday’s move “is a sign of the very pronounced rapprochement between Canada and Israel,” and of an ever-stronger shift away from Iran, he added.

In July, Ottawa warned Iran not to recruit agents in Canada after an Iranian envoy was quoted urging Iranian-Canadians to “occupy high-level key positions” and to “resist being melted into the dominant Canadian culture.”

Ties have also been strained by Tehran’s treatment of Iranian-born Canadians who traveled to visit their homeland. Iran does not recognize dual nationality and authorities have denied Canadian detainees consular protection.

An Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, based in Paris, welcomed Ottawa’s decision to sever ties with what the group’s president-elect called “the religious fascism ruling Iran.”

Tehran had exploited its diplomatic relations around the world “to justify suppression, crime, acquiring advanced technology, in particular nuclear technology, and (to) export terrorism,” said Maryam Rajavi.

Iran, which has been ruled by an Islamic theocracy since the 1979 uprising against the former Persian monarchy, is locked in a diplomatic stand-off with the West over its nuclear activities.

Tehran insists it has a right to enrich nuclear fuel to power civilian nuclear energy and research, but Washington, Israel and their allies claim it is seeking nuclear weapons capability.

In recent years, the stand-off has led Canada and the international community to implement a series of sanctions against Iran.

Israel, which has an undeclared nuclear weapons program of its own, has made it clear that it would launch military strikes sooner than see its main enemy in the Middle East attain such a goal.

Iran’s leaders in return regularly issue threats to destroy Israel or to disrupt oil shipping in the Gulf. Tehran is also the main foreign backer of Assad’s regime in Damascus.

© ANP/AFP