ASIA/SYRIA - Car-bombs in Jaramana spread terror among Christians

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) – There are among the victims of the attack carried out yesterday morning in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana eight Christians, Greek-Catholics and Greek-Orthodoxs. This is confirmed to Fides Agency by father Nicolas Haddad, of the Greek-Catholic monastery of San Germano, a member of the Missionary Society of St. Paul. The massacre, carried out with two car bombs exploded in the early morning, causing the deaths of more than 50 people, mostly Muslims and Druze. "Among them," says Father Nicolas "there were many young people and many students. The attack had been prepared to kill as many people as possible: when the first car bomb exploded, people approached, and only then the second bomb exploded. Among the more than one hundred wounded, Christians are at least ten."
The suburb of Jaramana - unlike other areas on the outskirts of Damascus - was not hit by the repression of the regime. In the district citizens' committees were organized with the aim to preserve the area from the conflict between rebel groups and government forces.
Jaramana is known for the large presence of Christian and Druze communities. Many Christian refugees from Homs and other areas devastated by civil war had found refuge.
The attack - the technique is the same as those claimed by al-Qaida in Iraq - was attributed by official sources to unidentified groups of "terrorists", a term with which the government indicates the armed insurrection groups. Opposition voices have instead presented the massacre as a Syrian intelligence operation, insisting on the fact that the area of Jaramana is heavily infiltrated by government security apparatus. "In any case, whoever are the people behind the crime, if the aim was to terrorize the Christians, they are succeeding," explains to Fides Agency father Romualdo Fernandez OFM, rector of the Damascene Shrine dedicated to the Conversion of St. Paul: "Half of the teachers in our schools today did not come to school. This massacre, after that of Bab Tuma a month ago, has spread terrible panic. After Iraq, even Syria has fewer Christians. They give all the money they have to reach Lebanon, and from there they run away from the Middle East. While foreign powers and the international community blow on the flames, instead of forcing the parties to negotiate a settlement that puts an end to this massacre." (GV) (Agenzia Fides 29/11/2012)