Syria: Stop arming rebels and militias, Homs Catholic leader

Syrians hostages to militias, peace through reconciliation

25 July, 20:14

Syrian rebels near Aleppo Syrian rebels near Aleppo

(ANSAMed) - ROME - The opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began as a peaceful movement, but the people are now being held hostage by violent militias with affiliations ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Salaphites to al-Qaeda, Mother Superior Agnes-Mariam de la Croix of the Deir Mar Youcoub monastery in Qara near Homs said on Wednesday. She was in Rome to meet politicians and reporters.

''Foreign players must stop arming the militias and favoring this invasion by mercenaries, who are sowing chaos and destroying the internal balance of Syrian society,'' said de la Croix, who is the spokesperson for the Qara diocese Catholic Information Center. ''The only solution for Syria must come from within, after a cease-fire and with full enactment of the Annan plan'', she added speaking to ANSAmed.

The entire nation, including the Sunnite majority, is being silenced by the mercenary militias, according to de la Croix. ''They are holding the country hostage through terror, threats, and bloodshed. They carry out crimes against humanity and against human rights''. ''Who are they, who do they obey?''. She also warned on the presence of extremists from Libya, Mali, Sudan, Afghanistan among the rebels, and on weapons sent from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The West should also check its sources, because the Syrian National Council represents no one and the opposition abroad is divided, de la Croix underscored, adding that local committees could also be used and technologically helped by foreign powers.

She opposes a UN resolution leading to military intervention because it would certainly cause civilian deaths, she said, and believes that Assad's fate should be decided from within the country, and not by the powers that are arming the rebels.

The Mother Superior, who restored Qara's ancient monastery and founded a religious community there, has been aiding the civilian victims of the now 16-month-old conflict. She recently fled to Lebanon following what she called ''a defamatory campaign against me,'' and has been accused of sympathizing with the Assad regime by some in the Catholic sector.

She is now in Europe to garner support for the Mussalaha mouvement for Syrian reconciliation. (ANSAMed).

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