BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Aoun: Christian town calls for help against rebel attacks

File - FPM leader Michel Aoun speaks during a press conference in Rabieh, Tuesday, July 17, 2012. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul)

BEIRUT: Head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun said Tuesday he received a letter from a predominantly Christian town in Syria calling for help stopping attacks by radical rebel groups.

“I received a letter addressed to me via OTV channel and Tayyar.org, asking me to mediate to stop the attacks on the Christian town of Blodan,” Aoun told reporters following his bloc’s weekly meeting in Rabieh.

He said that residents of Blodan voiced fear over the possibility that Al-Nusra Front, a radical Islamist group fighting government forces in Syria, would attack the town as it did to Maaloula.

Rebels and regime forces recently fought over the ancient town of Maaloula where fighters reportedly desecrated Christian areas, prompting religious figures including Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai to voice their concern for the Christians there.

The violence in Maaloula has stoked fears among many Syrians about the place of the Christian community in the country.

During the weekly news conference, Aoun said he contacted several patriarchs and informed them of the letter and its content.

“We did our job and informed spiritual leaders about such fears,” Aoun said.

He added that Western governments have done poor jobs of protecting minorities in the Middle East.

“The U.S. secretary of state says there is no need to protect the Christians in the East while [former French President Nicolas] Sarkozy says there is no place for Christians in the East,” Aoun said.

Aoun also noted that it was no longer acceptable to remain silent with regards to attacks on Christian villages, saying such violence began in Palestine, Iraq and Egypt and is slowly moving to Syria.

“There is Maaloula and there is Al-Nusra Front and we should choose one of them” he said.

 

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