February 16, 2012
As fighting escalates in the Syrian city of Homs as citizens protest the regime of president Bashar al-Assad, area pastors are also reporting a significant increase in the number of Christian deaths, targeted killings and kidnappings, WORLDmag.com reports. Sources say Islamic militants have killed more than 200 Christians in Homs in recent days, including entire families and young children. “What we are hearing firsthand is the exact opposite of what’s being reported in Western media,” said Victor Atallah, director of Middle East Reformed Fellowship of Cyprus. “Most Syrians are most frightened of an Islamic takeover in Syria and are fleeing not from the government, but from Islamic thugs from all over.” Atallah said there were Islamic militants in the Homs area from Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia — many backed by al Qaeda — and added that those fighters were largely helping to sustain the conflict and uprisings that first began in the country 11 months ago.