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Syrian bishops have been executed

01 July 2013 / 20:07:51  GRReporter
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Greek Metropolitan of Aleppo Pavlos and Syrian Metropolitan of the city Johanna Ibrahim have been executed by Islamists in Syria, according to sources from the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy.

The information was confirmed by the deputy chairman of the Duma Sergei Zhelezniak, who stated that the two priests had been killed by fanatical Islamists. According to sources, the Russian politician refers to the information disseminated by the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. It has not yet been officially confirmed but the organization insists that there are data showing that the two bishops are not alive.

Meanwhile, the Greek Foreign Ministry has refuted the claim that the dead priest in the video disseminated by international and social networking media is one of the two priests kidnapped. The content of the video is particularly cruel. It shows the execution of Christian clerics by fanatical Islamists in Syria.

The video was presented by the Middle East Christian News Agency and disseminated by Radio France International. According to the Agency, the executioners are members of the Syrian Al Nusra organization, which is connected to the terrorist network Al Qaeda and other extremist groups.

Until now, the identity of the three men who were beheaded in a very cruel way is not clear. They could have been Franciscan monks, many of whom are living in a monastery in the region of Gasania, near the city of Homs, where a large number of Christians reside. The place has been the field of attacks by Islamic extremists in the past too. During the raids, they do not hesitate to kill the Christians living in the region.

According to the agency that disseminated the news, one of the three victims is probably Syrian monk Francois Murad who was kidnapped by Jihadists last Sunday. The video shows three men kneeling with their hands tied up. A large audience is watching the execution and some spectators are filming the beheading of the men on their mobile phones.

The correspondents of international media who are in the first line of the violent fighting define as civil the war which have been taking place for over two years now. According to the Syrian observatory for human rights which is well disposed to the rebels, 100,000 have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, of which 25,000 are members of the army, 36,000 citizens and 14,000 rebels.
"In Homs, fear is poisoning the air and the rebels immediately take possession of the empty houses. Access to hospitals is very difficult and money and car thefts have become a daily phenomenon," states Irish correspondent and expert on the Middle East Patrick Cockburn. Kidnappings, brutal murders, abandoned homes and entire neighbourhoods, disappearances and deaths constitute the daily life of the continuing war which is destroying the civilian population. It is believed that, in fear for their lives, 400,000 people have left the region of Homs alone. Many of them have been sheltered at schools, which the government is supplying with essentials. Since the beginning of the war, 1.7 million Syrians have left the country the majority of whom have emigrated to neighbouring countries.

So far, the international community has been only an observer of the conflict that is tearing the country apart. About two weeks ago, the US government decided for the first time to start supplying the rebels with small arms and ammunition. The decision had been taken after the conclusion that the regime in Damascus had used chemical weapons against opposition forces. The decision angered Moscow and the head of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Russian Duma Alexei Pushkov said, "The information about the use of chemical weapons by Assad's forces was fabricated in the same place where the lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been invented."

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has called for immediate access of United Nation officials to Syria in order for them to carry out an independent investigation of all data on the use of chemical weapons. The Atlantic Alliance is of the opinion that the right option is a political decision.

Tags: Greek Metropolitan PavlosAleppoExecutionIslamistsSyriaCivil war
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