A Syrian Christian recounts how the west's 'moderate' rebels terrorized his hometown of Maaloula
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
I met Dany in Beirut.
Dany is from the ancient Syrian-Christian town of Maaloula. As a soldier in the Syrian Arab Army, he suffered a serious injury during an operation in the Damascus countryside.
This injury could leave him permanently handicapped; now Dany is getting physical therapy in Lebanon and Syria.
Dany told me a very tragic story about his brother and relatives.
Back in September 2013 his ancient Christian town of Maaloula was stormed by FSA militias and his brother and relatives, along with nuns from the town, were kidnapped by these "moderate" rebels. Later on Maaloula was liberated by the SAA but there was no trace of Dany's brother or relatives. The nuns also disappeared.
Then the campaign to liberate al Qalamun mountains started. It was at this time when most of the FSA militias stated that they will be joining ISIS or Al Nusra Front, which means the captives will be handed over to those terrorists group.
The kidnapped nuns were eventually rescued after joint Syrian-Lebanese negotiations with Al Nusra Front.
But Dany's loved ones never came home. A month ago a group of Lebanese huntsmen found their bodies in an abandoned cave in the mountains.
Here is Dany's story, in his own words:
"We were attacked in 2013, as we were enjoying the beautiful summer days in our beloved village, we didn't harm anyone, we wanted to live in peace, work in our lands and sleep in our homes, but since 2012, people couldn't go to their lands anymore.
The terrorists started kidnapping people and asking for ransoms, then they invaded the Al Safir Hotel on the top of the mountain in March of 2013 and the monastery too, and they started to shoot on the village and terrorize people whenever they felt like, until that dark September day, when they invaded the village when people were sleeping, and the rest is history now…
We never wanted war—however we paid and are still praying the highest price.
I will tell you a bit about each one of our heroes.
Daoud, my brother, turned 27 years old 2 weeks ago. He is the oldest of 4 siblings, born on Resurrection Sunday, 1990. He was brave, stubborn, noble, kind and possessed an immense Christian faith.
The last 10 years of our lives were very hard and complicated and the only thing you would hear him say is, 'This is God's will we thank him for everything'.
Ghassan, 46 years old, father of 3 little children aged between 7 and 4. A hard worker, he would leave his house in the dawn and work until the sunset; generous, courageous, noble and also ready to lend a hand when asked. For his faith in God and his village he chose to stay in his hometown, leaving his family in Damascus, to which he returned as a hero and a martyr.
Atef, aged 40, was engaged when he was kidnapped; he had dreams of building a family in the town which he loved so much. Nevertheless he didn't run away, he didn't think of what might happen, he stood by his friends and armed with his faith and courage he defended his home and friends.
Jihad, 49 years old—everybody knew him in Maaloula. He was a sweet and pure soul, always smiling, telling stories and joking. He lost his cousin and his brother-in-law when Maaloula was captured on the 7th of September 2013.
Both were killed because they refused to denounce Jesus. Jihad had tremendous faith in God and Jesus and that's why he stayed with his friends in his village and was later kidnapped with them.
Chadi, only 25 years old, was Jihad's nephew; his father, cousin and his father's cousin lost their lives for Jesus and Syria. Everybody would tell you how sweet and polite he was, a peaceful young man just like his father; everybody loved him and respected him. Chadi joined his father, cousin and his uncle in heaven.
They were all born in the same neighborhood of Maaloula, close to Saint Sergius and the Bacchus monastery, known as Harret El E'ezz or the Pride Quarter now baptized as The Martyrs Quarter; it gave 7 of its finest men. Now the Christian Aramaic village is once again alive and spreading the faith and language of Jesus Christ all over the world.
My brother and loved ones died for Jesus and Syria—and I may die for this holy cause too."
Today I tried to contact Dany to tell him that I will publish his story at Russia Insider, but his friend picked up the phone.
He told me Dany is in post-surgery rehab after receiving back surgery in Damascus.
The operation, I was told, was successful.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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