July 13, 2012
Syrian Christians Evacuated From Bombed-Out City of Homs
Families released from Christian neighborhoods occupied by rebels.
Residents trapped in Christian neighborhoods of Syria's bombed-out city of Homs were evacuated this week after an agreement between army and rebel forces. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 60 people were taken to safety, according to the Associated Press. Most identified as Christians.
The evacuation momentarily settles fears of Christians being caught in the middle of further clashes between the rebels and the army. Thousands of Christians in Homs, Syria's third-largest city, have already fled to a nearby area known as the “Valley of Christians.”
Syrian Christians have been criticized for supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, whose aggressive reaction to protests last year has led to more than a year of violence in which more than 17,000 people have died.
According to CT dispatches from the Middle East, many Syrian Christians stand behind Assad out of fears that persecution would be imminent if a hard-line Islamist group were to come to power. However, as violence has continued, Christian support for Assad has decreased.
CT has reported about Syria's last chance for reconciliation; interviewed World Vision's director of interfaith relations about growing up in Syria and his lifelong journey with Islam; and examined the persecution of Christians as a cost of democracy in the Middle East.