06/17/2019 Syria (International Christian Concern) – Two Syrian Christian towns associated with the Syrian government were targeted by jihadist rebels over the weekend. The al-Qaeda linked group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, briefly cut the supply road between the Christian towns of Mhardeh and al-Suqaylabiyah. The Syrian government was able to regain control and the jihadist rebels retreated east.
Both of these predominately Christian towns have faced years of violence since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011. The conflict forced many Christians into an impossible choice: side with a regime who has a history of oppressing them, or side with the opposition where Islamic jihadists might kill them. Navigating these waters have proved challenging. Both of these Christian towns are under the Syrian government’s control.
In the most recent attack on al-Suqaylabiyah, five children and one adult were killed near a monastery. Eight were injured. The attack is believed to have originated from al-Qaeda linked terrorists. Mhardeh has also come under heavy fire from these terrorists. However, questions still remain from an attack last September where Mhardeh was targeted with cluster bombs, killing 10 and wounding 20. It was unclear whether terrorists would have access to these internationally illegal bombs, or if pro-regime forces attacked the city.
Regardless, historic and current events are clear on thing: the civil war has and continues to put Syrian Christians in the middle of violence with no regard to the welfare of noncombatants.