Speaking as a person who has been living on the ground in Syria, what is this war about?
There is no civil war in Syria, there are attempts to make it a civil war, there is pressure to transform the conflict into a sectarian conflict; we have lived this experience in Lebanon, we have seen it in Iraq and today we see it in Syria. Today in Syria there is no security. (…)This is our fate today in Syria: you can be abducted, you can be killed, you can be robbed, everything is possible because there is no more security. I have seen with my own eyes 100 corpses in the hospital. I saw families bringing back corpses of their father, of their brother, cut in pieces, beheaded. Why? Because he was a postman going to his office, a milkman delivering milk.
(…)The infrastructure of the country has been targeted and we have a lack of electricity, a lack of fuel, a lack of gas. People have had their houses destroyed, their stores destroyed, their crops devastated, their trees cut down, we are regressing to ground zero in Syria. It is not collateral damage. In Syria there is a clear plan of devastating everything: the country’s infrastructure, world heritage sites, even the civilian population are direct targets of the extremist mercenaries that are sent to fight, they say for freedom and democracy, but in reality they are applying an occult agenda to reduce the country to poverty and this is a scandal. [This was the situation in 2012. Today the situation is not better – on the contrary].
What is the relationship of Christians and Muslims on the ground in Syria?
Syria is a place where you have a very rich fabric of religious communities, religious families, ethnic families and cultural groups. We have lived together for centuries in mutual respect. We have never ever had any tension between Christians and Muslims; on the contrary we feel that we are part of the same country, moreover of the same Semitic family, all the descendants of Abraham.
Today with the sad events occurring in Syria there is an attempt to change this figure of general citizenship into a sectarian confrontation. The diversity in the Middle East makes possible a better understanding and better implementing of social peace and harmony. The Middle East is the cradle of civilization and should always remain an example of a place for peace and harmony in the world.