Following rumors that rebel factions are chasing Christian families out of some Syrian cities and towns, Vatican’s envoy to Syria Mario Zenari says that Syrian Christians are as threatened as all communities, but they haven’t interfered in the conflict yet.  The Assyrian International News Agency reported that “an exodus of Christians is taking place in Western Syria: the Christian population has fled the city of Qusayr, near Homs, following an ultimatum issued by the military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba.” Vatican’s news agency, Fides, reported at the beginning of June that a Christian man, Maurice Bitar, was killed by a sniper while he was buying bread for his family and that two priests returning from Syria to the Vatican said that Harba’s people have been harassing Christians in Qusayr making them give way to Muslims on the street just as the Ottomas did centuries ago.  

The AINA journalists got one thing wrong: Abdel Salam Harba is not THE military chief of the armed opposition. He’s just the leader of one local faction, quite radical, but not representative for the rebel movement. The rest of the Syrian opposition did not endorse his stance, and threats such as this haven’t been reported anywhere else in Syria. On the contrary, the FSA avoided at all costs attacking minorities for fear it would lose the little international support it gets.  [NowLebanon]