Is the Syrian war facing a new escalation? "Western powers are looking for an excuse to destroy our country. Let us pray for peace," said the Apostolic Vicar to Latin Christians of Aleppo.
"Recent developments show that there is no will to leave this country in peace."
With these words, the Apostolic Vicar of the Latins of Aleppo, Mgr. Georges Abou Khazen, commented on the current escalation in the Syrian war.
The regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which is supported by the Alawites and is also viewed favorably by Christians in the country, was able to regain the upper hand thanks to Russian military aid. The government forces has attacked Douma, one of the last rebel bastions in the country.
The rebels claim that the government used chemical weapons. The accusation is not new, but a constant in the propaganda war. Chemical weapons are internationally proscribed, which is why their use is considered particularly morally reprehensible. The allegation was used in the Iraq war against Saddam Hussein and also at the beginning of the Syrian war against Assad. It could not be proven neither in one case nor in the other. Therefore, it is suspected that, as in the past, it is a disinformation campaign.
The United States seems willing to use the unproven allegations, blatantly voiced by rebels in a media-friendly manner, to make another attempt to win the war in their favor. The declared goal of the US since the beginning of the war is the overthrow of the Assad government. Since then, there are justified rumors that the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) is not just a freeloader in the war, but a hidden part of the strategy to overthrow the Syrian government.
A stable land has been destabilized by foreign countries
Abou Khazen is a Franciscan and Titular Bishop of Rusadus, a Diocèse submerged by the Islamic conquest in the former Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis in North Africa. The Latin Syrian is familiar with the realities of his homeland and is not guided by the political, strategic and economic interests of the West. For this reason, he has repeatedly raised vehement charges against Western governments with their policy of not only exposing the country's Christians to danger, but accepting [encouraging] their extinction.
Already in the past, he made no secret of how he sees the Syrian conflict. A stable government, which ensured the country a relative prosperity and above all, the rights of Christians, is to be overthrown by foreign powers. By that he means a US-led Western Sunni-Israeli alliance. The interests of the powers involved, above all the USA, Saudi Arabia and Israel are different, but the common enemy is one. Since these powers could not directly intervene militarily, so as not to put themselves on the wrong foot internationally, various groups were supported, trained and upgraded, the representative lead the fight in Syria. Officially, these are the Syrian rebels, unofficially, according to the opinion of many observers, including among the Christians of the Middle East, these are also the Islamic jihad militias.
Msgr. Khazen told AsiaNews that "Syria is calling on the UN Security Council to send a commission of inquiry into the country" to investigate the rebel allegations. The Western "anti-Assad bloc" (US, UK, France), however, wanted to take the opportunity to intervene with an "iron fist". Therefore, they seem to "reject any compromise," said the bishop.
The rebels claim that the attack by government forces killed 60 people, including women and children. As AsiaNews emphasized, there is no independent endorsement. Nevertheless, the US President spoke of a "barbaric act" to which he would give a "strong answer".
Above all, French President Emmanuel Macron has been as
loud as the war mongers in recent days and hours. London dispenses with the verbal saber-rattling, but is decidedly on the side of the United States.
To pray for peace
On Monday, Russian UN ambassador Vasily Zursya emphatically denied allegations that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons. "There is no evidence," said the ambassador, who wanted his message interpreted as an attempt to de-escalate. He pointed to Washington, Paris and London. The three Western powers had begun a "campaign of aggression against Russia and Syria, a sovereign state." Thus, Moscow has unambiguously sides with Assad.
"You are not aware of the risk level at which the international situation is driving you", says Wassili Nebensja.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley countered by claiming that Russia was "supporting a monster". The "Russian obstruction will not prevent the US from responding," according to the United States Permanent Observer at the UN.
Bishop Georges Abou Khazen
Bishop Georges Abou Khazen OFM
"The US and Russia say everything and the opposite of everything," said Msgr. Khazen. Washington complains, but has no evidence.
"What I can not explain to myself: What would be the point of a chemical attack after the government had already liberated the entire area? The claims seem unbelievable to me, and I wonder who's trying to take advantage of it."
Decisive is the desire and will for peace, the bishop said, as Pope Francis had stressed and demanded in recent days.
"People are afraid of a new escalation of violence because of these threats. I do not know what would have changed in the past weeks in the country. But I see that they are seeking an excuse to destroy our country. "
Msgr. Khazen therefore expressed the hope that the logic of peace and dialogue regain the upper hand.
"That's what we pray for every day. We should all pray for that. For that I pray to pray Christian brothers in the world. We are considering the proclamation of a nationwide prayer day for peace. We need common solutions. But if the truth is not the standard, but instead lies are used, it will be difficult. The price will have to be paid by the Syrian families, who have already been hit so hard by a war without end on an economic, social and moral level.”
Text: Andreas Becker
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org