Rebuilding Aleppo means rebuilding links between Christians and Muslims

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The Archbishop of Armenians in Syria’s second-largest city concluded a week-long European tour with a visit to Paris on Wednesday, in which he argued that moving on from a fierce conflict meant fostering ties between communities and faiths.

Monsignor Chahane Sarkissian witnessed first-hand the Battle of Aleppo from its beginning in July 2012 to the intense fighting under siege of Syrian and Russian forces that led to its end on 22 December 2016.

Only about a third of the 45,000 Armenian Christians lived in the city before the conflict began remain today, and Sarkissian described how those who stayed are rebuilding their lives and encouraging others to return.

“We are trying our best to open the schools and then the small and medium businesses to give the Armenian community the possibility to continue there, instead of leaving as refugees to other places, including other parts of the world,” he said.

“We are the people of this country, not just as Christian communities at an ecumenical level, but also with the Muslims. The majority of the population of Syria is Muslim, but we live with them, and we hope to continue our life inside the city and the country.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM RFI

‘They aren’t real Muslims’: Radical mercenaries kidnap, kill both Syria Christians and Muslims

muslims-christians-syria-violence.siChristians of the East view the war in Syria neither as civil nor as sectarian, Orthodox Bishop Elias Kfoury told RT. He also spoke of those who unleashed a conflict in Syrian society which hadn’t seen any religious hostilities in the past.

Metropolitan Elias Kfoury of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Southern Lebanon and Western Beqaa spoke with RT’s observer Nadezhda Kevorkova in the biblical city of Sidon, located on the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon, in a church constructed in the building where the final meeting of the Apostles Peter and Paul took place in 58AD.

The Metropolitan’s residence is located in the very heart of the old city. It’s not easy to find, however any passing Muslim would show you the way to Metropolitan Elias’s place. Some of his parishes are located in the area populated by Shiites and controlled by Hezbollah. Others are on the territory of Sunni homes and Palestinian refugee camps. Presently the largest Syrian refugee camp is also located there. The cave where Mary was waiting for Jesus, and the cave where the evangelical wedding in Cana took place are a part of his eparchy. For 22 years some of his congregation lived under Israeli occupation. Twice, in 2000 and in 2006, their churches were bombed and destroyed by Israelis. During open hostilities campaigns anyone could find a shelter in Orthodox churches in spite of their religion, whether they were Sunni, Shiites, Druse or Catholics. So the Metropolitan has quite a profound understanding of the current situation that has been developing in Syria and is about to overtake Lebanon. He’s been walking this ground and talking to these people for a long time.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RT.COM