Back in November, 2012, the New York Times ran a story, Mountaintop Town Is a Diverse Haven From Syria’s Horrors. By Janine Di Giovanni.
MALOULA, Syria — In a country clouded by conflict, where neighbors and families are now divided by sectarian hatred, this mountaintop town renowned for its spiritual healing qualities and restorative air is an oasis of tolerance. Residents of the ancient and mainly Christian town — one of the last places where Western Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, is still spoken — vowed at the beginning of the Syrian conflict 20 months ago not to succumb to sectarianism and be dragged into the chaos.
Mr. Diab said that tolerance had been a tradition since St. Takla, the daughter of a pagan prince and an early disciple and possibly the wife of St. Paul, fled to these mountains in the first century. She was escaping soldiers sent by her father, who was threatening to kill her for her religious beliefs. Legend has it that, exhausted and finding her way blocked by the sharp, rocky sides of a mountain, Takla fell on her knees in desperate prayer, whereupon the mountains parted. Hence, “Maloula,” meaning “entrance” in Aramaic.
“Here in these mountains are all different people, different religions. But we decided adamantly that Maloula would not be destroyed,” Mr. Diab said.
“It’s my country,” said Antonella, a Syrian-American who left Los Angeles and Miami three years ago to return to her birthplace and start a cafe.
“There were 50 tour buses a day here when I first came back,” she said wistfully, looking around her empty cafe, where she serves American-style food.
But Antonella said, “The truth is, even if Maloula is quiet, no one knows where this is going,” adding that her allegiance was largely with Mr. Assad. “The rebels have destroyed our country.”
This is the beginning of World War III,” predicts her brother Adnan, also a returnee. “It is starting in Syria, but it will engulf the region. This is a proxy war.”Yesterday, the Washington Post, ran this article: Al-Qaida-linked rebels stage hit-and-run attacks in ancient Syrian Christian village
The fighting in Maaloula, a scenic village of about 3,300 perched high in the mountains, began early Wednesday when militants from Jabhat al-Nusra stormed in after a suicide bomber struck an army checkpoint guarding the entrance.
The group — listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department — is one of the most effective fighting forces among Syrian rebels. The suicide attack triggered battles that terrorized residents in the village, famous for two of the oldest surviving monasteries in Syria — Mar Sarkis and Mar Takla.
Some of its residents still speak a version of Aramaic, the language of biblical times believed to have been used by Jesus.
The nun who spoke to AP said there were reports that the militants threatened villagers with death if they did not convert. The report could not be independently confirmed.The plight of Syria's Christians: 'We left Homs because they were trying to kill us': In the civil war, they have tried to stay neutral. But despite this, many are now facing persecution and death.
The Haddad family had no doubts about why they had to escape from Homs. "We left because they were trying to kill us," said 18-year-old Noura Haddad. She is now staying with relations in the town of Zahle in the Bekaa Valley. "They wanted to kill us because we were Christians. They were calling us Kaffirs, even little children saying these things. Those who were our neighbours turned against us.Syrian violence drives 50,000 Christians from homes
Almost all Christians in the conflict-torn Syrian city of Homs have fled violence and persecution, amid reports that their homes have been attacked and seized by “fanatics” with links to al-Qaida.
With ninety percent of Christians having reportedly left their homes, the violence is driving fears that Syria could become a “second Iraq” with church attacks, kidnappings and forced expulsions of believers.
The exodus of 50,000 or more Christians has taken place largely in the past six weeks. It is part of al-Qaida-linked militant Islamic groups’ “ongoing ethnic cleansing” of Christians, according to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
Islamists have allegedly gone from house to house in the Homs neighborhoods of Hamidiya and Bustan al-Diwan and have forced Christians to leave without giving them a chance to take their belongings.
The comparisons with Iraq are also ominous. Anti-Christian violence in Iraq has helped drive the Christian population from 1.4 million in the late 1980s to less than 300,000 today.
The bold faced emphasis in the blockquotes was mine.
Clearly, fanning the flames of violence in the Middle East has achieved the aim of ethnically cleansing the Middle East of Christians and destroying ancient Christian monasteries, churches, and religious sites.
These stories of ethnic cleansing and attacking Christian monuments are relegated to the back pages of the MSM, along with evidence that implicates the "rebels" of possessing chemical weapons and pointing to them in past CW attacks in Syria, and seldom appear if at all in the MSM, as opposed to the mountains of stories falsely reporting that Saddam had WMDs and falsely reporting the allegation that Assad was proven with "incontrovertible" evidence to be behind the August 21 chemical weapons attack against his own people as fact, which on the face of it makes no sense whatsoever, because Assad was winning and had nothing to gain and everything to lose by allegedly crossing the "red line," exploited as the casus belli for the world's super power to jump in with their "rebel" allies and launch a "limited strike."