Syria: ESL rebels; Christians, all minorities protected

Appeal from Aleppo to join "revolution" to defend home country

31 August, 13:35

(ANSAmed) - BEIRUT, AUGUST 31 - Anti-regime Syrian rebels with the Free Syrian Army (ESL) in Aleppo say they will protect Christians in the city and respect all religious and ethnic groups in Syria. They have also called on Christians to join the anti-regime fight.

In a document just published and read out in an amateur video posted on the internet (http://youtube/ULEjxhaSKRA), major Anas Ibrahim of the Fath brigade of deserters and Sunni civilians in Aleppo said that "ESL is present in the neighbourhood of Bustan al Basha and on the sidelines of the Midan district where it hopes to enter. Both areas are majority Christian".

"Syria has raised since its origins all religious confessions and will remain this way", said the statement. ""ESL considers the social texture of Syria a major cultural asset which will participate in the construction of Syria's future".

"For this reason, the free army assures it will protect this social fabric and strengthen relations with all members of the population and its minorities to build future Syria".

Major Ibrahim appears in the video while he reads the statement from a computer screen in front of which is a copy of the Koran. The ESL representative cites a verse in the tradition of the Prophet Mohamed saying that members of all monotheistic religions must be treated in the best way possible.

"Starting from this, the free army announces to the world that it will put under its protection and defence Christians and all other minorities, their holy sites, their members and assets", he said.

Rebels also called on Christians in Aleppo to join the "revolution": "The free army calls on its brothers (Christians) to take the side of their revolutionary brothers who are defending their country regardless of ethnic or religious matters". (ANSAmed)

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