"4News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them."-Matthew 4
I just the movie called Syriana", which was very hard to follow. I had to watch the beginning part twice to understand. Unfortunately, me caption (English subitle) wasn't fully working (would not translate the foreign language) on my t.v., so I had a more difficult time. I've heard about this movie so much prior and during, which I was anxious to watch. I tried to separate the "hollywood-fiction" part, but this move was very hard to do so because every part seems to be actually true!
"...After screening the animated clip — a parody of a music video that includes images of bombs being dropped on fighters in Middle Eastern dress — the anchor pointed out that the cartoon soldiers drawn in 2001 were pictured in a jeep decorated with a version of the Syrian flag that opposition protesters and rebels started waving in 2011. “The flag was created before the events took place,” Ms. Badawy asserted. “That’s why people are saying on Facebook that this is a conspiracy — in 2001, there was no such thing as the flag of the Syrian opposition.”
While the anchor called the inclusion of the flag in an episode of the cartoon a mystery — “How it reached this animated video nobody knows, and this has aroused a debate on the social networks” — she insisted that the image “raises many question marks about what happened in the Arab Spring revolutions and about when this global conspiracy began.”
State-run channels across the Arab world have frequently claimed that the uprisings against authoritarian rule in 2011 were the work of foreign plotters, so the accusation is not new. It is sobering, however, to hear the accusation broadcast on a station set up that year (just days after Hosni Mubarak was forced from power), named for Tahrir Square and promising to air the views of the young revolutionaries.
But by treating the cartoon flag as evidence of a foreign plot to destabilize Syria — a theory first articulated a year ago by supporters of President Bashar Al-Assad who claimed to have decoded the “subliminal messaging” of Zionist plotters — Ms. Badawy demonstrated a lack of familiarity with crucial aspects of both Syrian history and details of the “Simpsons” episode...."
"...The first division between Syriac Christians occurred in the 5th century, when Christians of the Sassanid Persian Empire were separated from those in the west over the Nestorian Schism. This split owed just as much to the politics of the day as it did to theological orthodoxy. Ctesiphon, which was at the time the Sassanid capital, became the capital of the Church of the East.
After the Council of Chalcedon in 451, many Syriac Christians within the Roman Empire rebelled against its decisions. The Patriarchate of Antioch was then divided between a Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian communion. The Chalcedonians were often labelled 'Melkites' (Emperor's Party), while their opponents were labelled as Monophysites (those who believe in the one rather than two natures of Christ) and Jacobites (after Jacob Baradaeus). The Maronite Church found itself caught between the two, but claims to have always remained faithful to the Catholic Church and in communion with the bishop of Rome, the Pope.
Over time, some groups within each of these branches have entered into communion with the Roman Catholic Church, becoming Eastern Catholic Churches. The Mar Thoma Church is in full communion with the Anglican Communion.
Some Syriac Christian denominations no longer use the Syriac language in their worship. This is particularly true of the Chalcedonian churches...
"..(inchurchnews) November 17), Archaeologists have discovered the largest ancient Christian church in Syria.
The remains of the Christian Church, thought to date back some 1,500 years, were found in Palmyra in central Syria. A small amphitheatre and two rooms for Christian worship were also found on the site of the church.
Palmyra, 135 miles north-east of Damascus, was an important Roman-era desert stop for caravans travelling to Mesopotamia and Persia.
Much of the city was destroyed by the Romans in the third century, in revenge for rebelling against their rule under Syrian Queen Zenobia.
The director of Palmyra museum, Walid Assad, said the latest find by Syrian and Polish archaeologists was the fourth church to be discovered in the city - and the largest in Syria.
Mr. Assad said archaeologists found two rooms on one side of the building and an amphitheatre in the courtyard that may have been used for baptisms, prayers and other religious ceremonies.
"Christianity came to Palmyra in the year 312, at a time when Christians had begun to build churches," Mr Assad told AFP. "And this one is huge - the biggest ever found in Syria. It dates back to the fourth or fifth centuries after Jesus Christ." .."
Ancient church found in Syria
"(CNN) -- Tensions boiled in a volatile Syrian community Thursday as thousands turned up for the funerals of people killed in unrest. Meanwhile, Syria's government blamed the instability on outsiders and announced plans to study popular demands, including the lifting of the country's decades-old emergency law.
Syria is the latest in a string of Arabic-speaking nations beset with discontent over economic and human rights issues. Syrian discontent centers on Daraa, a southern city in the impoverished country's agricultural region, where violence has been escalating between security forces and anti-government protesters since late last week.
Wissam Tarif, executive director of the human rights organization Insan, said at least 34 people have been killed in Daraa in the past two days. Other activists believe many more have been killed.
Tarif said as many as 20,000 people followed the funeral procession for those who died in the violence, including a conscripted soldier who was reportedly shot and wounded because he refused to fire on demonstrators.
A witness, who asked not to be named, said 10 "martyrs" were buried following afternoon prayers, with the people in the procession mourning the loss of the victims and chanting anti-government slogans.
Kamal Aswad, a political activist in Daraa, said people in the funeral procession were chanting: "Those who kill their own people are traitors" and he said activists are trying to generate support for a big protest on Friday -- a "Day of Martyrs" to be held after Friday prayers.
Syrian state TV portrayed an opposite picture of the public mood. Scenes broadcast Thursday included fireworks and crowds of pro-government supporters waving pictures of President Bashar al-Assad and shouting, "with our bloods and our souls, we defend you Bashar!"
The footage was marked onscreen as "live," but it could not be determined when the footage actually originated.
Also Thursday, state TV broadcast an "urgent" message that read: "Following a directive by President Assad, all those who were detained in the latest events were released."
It could not be determined whether the statement was true.
State TV reported on Wednesday that the government fired the provincial governor amid the demonstrations.
The Obama administration on Thursday released a statement condemning "the Syrian government's brutal repression of demonstrations, in particular the violence and killings of civilians at the hands of security forces."
"We call on the Syrian government to exercise restraint and respect the rights of its people and call on all citizens to exercise their rights peacefully," the White House statement read.
Al-Assad's government on Thursday announced a number of measures apparently addressing protesters' demands. Among them, decrees to cut taxes and raise government workers salaries by 1,500 Syrian pounds ($32.60 US) a month, as well as pledges to provide more press freedoms, increased job opportunities and curbs on government corruption.
The government also said it would study lifting the country's emergency law and new legislation that would license political parties.
Syria's emergency law has been in effect since 1963. The law allows the government to make preventive arrests and override constitutional and penal code statutes. It also bars detainees who haven't been charged from filing court complaints or from having a lawyer present during interrogations.
The government also announced Thursday it will form a committee "to contact and listen to citizens in Daraa."
Bouthina Shaaban, a spokeswoman for al-Assad, passed along his condolences to those killed in Daraa and said the president "would not accept any bloodshed."
"I was an eyewitness to his excellency's orders that no live bullets would be used against the demonstrators," Shaaban said.
Shaaban also said the government is investigating the unrest in Daraa and that there are "indications and proof that there is a foreign financial support."
"Daraa was chosen because of its geographic location near the borders and how easy it is to transfer money and weapons to the city," Shaaban said, referring to the area's proximity to Jordan.
The Jordanian government on Thursday released a statement on state TV denying "as baseless, reports that fighters and vehicles loaded with weapons entered Syria from inside Jordanian territory."
"Such reports are nothing but media allegations that will not affect the good relations between the two countries," the statement read.
Syria is a diverse country, largely Sunni Muslim but ruled by the minority Alawite Muslim sect. It is also populated by Christians and members of the Druze sect. Along with Arabs, it has a significant Kurdish minority, which has been restive in recent years, and an Armenian population.
Those populations are controlled by a government that human rights groups consider one of the most repressive in the world.
In 2010, Syria ranked 127th out of 178 countries in transparency and accountability to the public, according to the international government watchdog group Transparency International. On a scale of 0 to 10, the lowest score representing the world's most corrupt governments, Syria scored a 2.5, Transparency International reported.
Human rights groups estimate that tens of thousands of people were killed in Syria during the three decades under the rule of Hafez al-Assad, the current president's father. Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000 promising reforms, but aside from implementing some economic reforms, failed to deliver, according to human rights groups.
Joshua Landis, who runs the Syria Comment blog and is director of the Center for Middle East Studies and associate professor at University of Oklahoma, told CNN that the unrest in Daraa is spurred by a number of factors, widespread poverty, a dislike for the emergency law and the arrests two weeks ago of young people who scrawled anti-government graffiti.
It is also driven by Sunni resentment against a government controlled by Alawites, among them, al-Assad.
So far, Landis said, the rallies been localized to Daraa but it's possible that there will be demonstrations elsewhere on Friday.
"Daraa is very poor and Islamic -- it optimizes everything that troubles Syria -- a failed economy, the population explosion, a bad governor and overbearing security forces," Landis wrote in his blog. "It is an explosive brew. Even if the government can contain violence to Daraa for the time-being, protests will spread. The wall of fear has broken. Apathy of the young has turned to anger,"
Because there are so few sources available from what has been a closed, authoritarian society, human rights activists are trying to get a handle on the number of casualties and the context behind the unrest in Daraa, which is a more conservative, tribal and close-knit community.
Amnesty International said it has been "deeply disturbed by reports of multiple deaths" in Daraa, as security forces fired "at protesters and people coming to the aid of the injured."
Along with many killed in the violence over the past 36 hours there were 92 confirmed arrests, according to Neil Sammonds an Amnesty researcher on Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Sammonds said there are reports of army snipers shooting women carrying water and an 11-year-old girl.
It's "hard to imagine these are front-line protesters," Sammonds said.
CNN's Saad Abedine and Mia Aquino contributed to this report"
"BEIRUT (AP) — Ibrahim Qashoush's lyrics moved thousands of protesters in Syria who sang his jaunty verses at rallies, telling President Bashar Assad, "Time to leave." So when his body was dumped in the river flowing through his hometown, his killers added an obvious message: His throat was carved out.
Qashoush's slaying underlines how brutal Syria's turmoil has become as authorities try to crush a persistent uprising. His fellow activists are convinced he was killed by security forces and fear it could mark a new campaign to liquidate protest leaders.
An estimated 1,600 civilians have died in the crackdown on the largely peaceful protests that have been raging around Syria for more than four months, most from shootings by troops on anti-Bashar rallies. Qashoush's case was a rare, targeted killing of a prominent activist — made more chilling by the clear intention to send a bloody message.
The 42-year-old Qashoush, a father of three boys, was a fireman in the central Syrian city of Hama who wrote poetry in his spare time, said a close friend, Saleh Abu Yaman. Before the uprising began in mid-March, he'd write about love or hard economic times.
"All the poems and songs he wrote were by instinct. He used to be sitting with his friends and then start reciting a poem," Abu Yaman said.
But once the protests erupted and spread, Qashoush turned his pen to the uprising. Hama became one of the hottest centers of the demonstrations. In early June, security forces shot dead 65 people there, and since than it has fallen out of government control, with protesters holding the streets and government forces ringing it, conducting overnight raids into the city.
The hometown son's star rose with the city. At nearly every protest, the crowds were singing his most popular lyric, "Come on, Bashar, time to leave." It was put to a bouncy tune, and his poems rang with a down-to-earth, jokey sound.
"Screw you, Bashar, and screw those who salute you. Come on, Bashar, time to leave!" hundreds of thousands sang behind a singer on stage in Hama's central Assi Square during a rally at the beginning of the month. "Freedom is at our doors. Come on, Bashar, time to leave!"
Two days later, on July 3, Qashoush disappeared.
Abu Yaman says he was told by witnesses that Qashoush was walking to work in central Hama when a white vehicle stopped, several men jumped out and muscled him into the car. They then sped away.
"We immediately knew he was captured by security agents," Abu Yaman told The Associated Press.
Early the next day, residents found his body in the Orontes River, which cuts through Hama. His throat had been cut away. YouTube footage of his body shows him being put on a bed, his head flopping loosely to show a gaping, bloody wound on the front of his neck where his throat used to be.
"This is a purely criminal act," said Omar Idilbi, a spokesman for the Local Coordination Committees, which track the protests in Syria. "They executed him."
Repeated calls to Qashoush's home by the AP were unanswered over the past days. It is nearly impossible to independently verify the claims on either side of the conflict in Syria, where the government has banned most foreign journalists and restricts coverage by reporters inside the country.
Since the uprising began, there have been several cases of protesters being detained by security force, only to have their bodies handed over later to their families, often with brutal marks of torture. Among them were two boys detained during protests in the southern province of Daraa in April. The body of one, 15-year-old Tamer Mohammed al-Sharei, was bruised, his teeth broken in; the other, 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib, had a gaping wound in his skull, a broken neck and was mutilated — his penis severed.
But Qashoush's case appeared distinct. Many prominent activists have been arrested, but there have been few instances of them being swiftly killed and dumped in a way so overtly intended to send a message.
Idilbi said he fears it could signal a new tactic of targeting protest organizers. The singer who sang Qashoush's song has gone into hiding, activists say.
Like the two slain boys, Qashoush has since become a rallying point for protesters. Thousands attended his funeral on July 4, at Hama's northern cemetery of Hamra. Crowds have sung his songs at protests since. A video posted on a Facebook page dedicated to Qashoush proclaims, "They killed him in order to silence him. They don't know that he lives in the hearts of millions."
"He was the nightingale of the revolution," Abu Yaman said.
"Syria (MNN/CAM) ― The crisis in Syria has created a flood of refugees. According to the United Nations, the number fleeing the regime's wrath has risen by several thousand in the past few days and now tops 34,000.
Their most recent numbers show that hundreds of thousands are thought to be displaced within Syria. Bill Bray with Christian Aid Mission says, "Almost every day, we're getting new reports of increasing numbers of refugees and increasing sacrifice being made by the Christian community in the surrounding countries to reach out."
Most of the poor refugees, made up of nominal Christian and other minorities, are fleeing to neighboring countries where the reception has been chilly. "They are trying to contain the refugee crisis, and displaced persons within Syria and not welcoming them across their borders. All the borders are mined and armed--protected. They don't want a huge rush of refugees from Syria coming into their countries. They don't want to set up great refugee camps and so forth."
Bray says their team has been responding to the building humanitarian crisis since last June. Their first inkling of how bad it was going to be was when "the leaders that we assist kept saying, 'Can we have permission to divert the funds that you've been giving for evangelism or other causes that were earmarked.... Can we start using this to aid the Christian refugees that are coming across the border?' They asked for more help, and we've been sending more and more help."
Why? "The Christian community is often neglected in the distribution of aid to the refugees. And the host governments in Turkey and Jordan and Lebanon really are not welcoming these refugees and don't want to recognize them." Bray adds that it's not just Christians, but also "the Bedouins, the gypsies--there are minority groups that are neglected in aid distribution." As a result, "An amazing number of Bedouins are coming to believers for help," says the Christian Aid Mission spokesperson.
The good news is that more help is getting in. But the bad news is that things are getting worse. Even as international pressure grows on President Assad al-Bashar, the government response has been bruising. For most Non-Government Organizations, that means no aid in the country. For informal response like Christian Aid, it's quite a different story. "We have a vast network in all of hose countries. They're already in place. There are missionaries that are doing covert evangelism; they're reaching out to their communities. They're seeing the needs, and the heart of Christian compassion is in them."
This is an opportunity to show the love of Christ to people who are suffering terribly, says Bray. First, the physical needs. "There's a lot of need for anything that provides warmth. Fuel oil, mattresses, warm clothes, blankets, shoes, because they're fleeing with what they've got on their backs." Feeding and housing one refugee family costs about $130 a week in temporary shelters -- the cost of food alone is $70 a week.
When believers help, the inevitable "why" is answered with "Christ." As a result, "They very much want Arabic Bibles, CDs, Christian literature. There's a great demand to receive spiritual aid as well as material aid."
"We are not really prepared to help these people," says a local missionary leader, "but we cannot keep our doors closed when we see our brothers and sisters in need--whether they are from Christian or Muslim background."
"God uses times of crisis to soften hearts to the gospel," added the Christian Aid staff spokesman. "This may be a time of harvest among Muslim and Christian refugees. God is sovereign. He cares for Muslims. Countries in the Middle East are going through great upheaval. Now many Muslims are turning to Christ. Maybe the long turmoil in Syria is God's way of bringing this about."
Bray concludes, "They can pray for strength for the Christian community and wisdom in dealing with the government and local police officials. A lot of these people are illegal immigrants, they're undocumented; there are no jobs for them so we need to pray for the Christian community as they try to integrate these refugees into their churches and into the community."
Christian Aid has set up a special emergency fund: Gift Code 400REF. Check our Featured Links Section for details. ..
"AMMAN, JORDAN (ANS) -- As the Syrian civil war, also referred to as the Syrian uprising, continues to spiral out of control, with the ongoing armed conflict being fought between forces loyal to the Ba’ath Party government and those seeking to oust it, things are looking bleaker by the day for the country.
A building burning in Homs city
The bloody conflict began on March 15, 2011 with public demonstrations as part of the wider Arab Spring. Protesters demanded the end to nearly five decades of Ba’ath Party rule, as well as the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad.
In April 2011, the Syrian government deployed the Syrian Army to quell the uprising and soldiers were ordered to open fire on civilians. After months of military sieges, the protests evolved into an armed rebellion as opposition forces became increasingly armed and organized as they unified into larger groups, as well as receiving military aid from several foreign countries.
The protests have now spread to Lebanon
However, the armed opposition remained fractured, without organized leadership. The Syrian government characterizes the insurgency as “armed terrorist groups.”
Media reports say that during August alone, more than 5,400 people, a significant majority of them civilians, were killed during the month, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a widely cited London-based opposition group that tracks the violence.
The group puts the total number of both civilian and military deaths since the uprising began at 26,000, which suggests that about 20 percent of recorded deaths occurred in August alone, when the regime began unleashing more air power to crush the revolt and fighting reached the country’s largest city and its commercial capital, Aleppo.
Isam Ghattas photographed in Northern Iraq
(Photo: Dan Wooding)
Now comes the news that Isam Ghattas, a Jordanian Christian who runs the Amman-based Manara “Lighthouse” International, a ministry that for many years has been helping believers throughout the Middle East, with Bibles, medical relief and money, has stepped forward to help Syrian refugees who have fled the violence and moved into Jordan.
In an urgent message to his friends, Ghattas says, “The horrors of the Syrian uprising were inconceivable a year ago. Today, they are still inconceivable, not because we are shocked any longer at the inhumanity of man, but because it is so hard for us to comprehend the magnitude and depth of the suffering.
“Also because it can make us feel so helpless. No, we cannot stop the slaughter and destruction. But we can pray, and we can trust God.
A morgue inside of Syria
“We cannot take hundreds of thousands of refugees into our homes. But we can share with them what God gives us.
“Our Father’s purpose for Jordan has always been to serve as a refuge. And he has placed Manara International on the front lines.”
Mr. Ghattas went on to say, “For decades, we have shared God’s peace and hope and comfort and helped meet the essential needs of refugees from Palestine. Then, eight years ago, when Iraqis fled the violence of the second Gulf War and the terrorism and anarchy that followed, we welcomed them into Jordan as guests.
“And just as we were wondering how to keep our resources from being overwhelmed, civil war broke out in neighboring Syria. And again the floodgates burst open.
Syrian refugees arriving in Jordan
“According to the UN, over 100,000 people fled Syria last month alone, doubling the total number of refugees to more than 235,000 people. They left behind 5,000 new corpses, 1,600 in just the last week.
“Some flee to Turkey, Iraq, and Lebanon. But most come here. About 1,000 every day — a total of 183,000 people, by one count. Keep in mind that Jordan is about the size of Indiana or Austria.
“The UN can only set up overcrowded tent camps on dehydrated, barren stretches of desert, crawling with snakes and scorpions and blasted by sandstorms. There, Syrian families who escaped the violence of their country suffer what many refer to as a ‘slow death,’ where their chief employment is survival and they can do nothing but swelter under the scorching desert sun.
What kind of future will this Syrian child have?
“Even the UN is overwhelmed by the needs and relies heavily on nongovernment organizations and ministries like Manara International. For several weeks now, I have been meeting with ministry leaders who want to partner with us to help the refugees.”
Ghattas added that he is asking for prayer for these refugee families and for millions more who are unable to escape their war-torn country.
“But please also pray for my country, for Jordan,” he said.
Ghattas then stated the following:
* For decades, Israel has tried to transfer two million Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan,
* Al Qaeda is working to use my country as a corridor of terrorist operations against Israel and Syria,
* and the Muslim Brotherhood is working to take over Jordan -- as it has Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya -- and turn us into an Islamic Republic, subject to Sharia law.
“If these forces succeed, Jordan will no longer be a safe haven in the Middle East, and one more Arab nation will become an enemy of Jesus Christ and his people,” Ghattas said.
The devastation of the fighting inside of Syria
“I explain these realities so that you can pray knowledgeably and effectively. And I am working to build alliances with other ministries so your power and influence will be increased exponentially for the glory of God.”
He said that Manara wishes to partner with others seeking to help the refugees and he says that they need to raise $150,000 to do so.
"Please consider what you can do to help today and send a gift as soon as you can," he added.
Ghattas said that if you are in the US, please send your tax-deductible gift to Hope Builders International, PO Box 5465, Charlottesville, VA 22905. You can also go to www.hope-builders.com to give online or share by phone at 1.434.295.1124 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 1.434.295.1124 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
He concluded by saying, “I thank God for the growing number of ministries that are willing to help us in the work he has given us to do in Jordan. And I thank God for you, my friend. May he bless you with every good thing, just as you are a blessing to our suffering brothers and sisters and to all those who are being saved through your generous expressions of God’s love.”
You can contact Isam by e-mail at: email@example.com
"The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter..."-Mark 7:26
The Road to Damascus
"This is a song I wrote almost six years ago about the conversion of St. Paul of Tarsus on "The Road to Damascus." I set it to video/audio clips of present-day Damascus in Syria in order to compare/contrast the timeless city as it was in the time of St. Paul to how it is now in our own time."
*see GoodnewsEverybody.com Blind, Eyes, Sight, etc... Outreach
"SUKKARIYEH, Syria – A cross-border raid by U.S. special forces killed the al-Qaida-linked head of a Syrian network that smuggled fighters, weapons and cash into Iraq, an American counterterrorism official said Monday. Blood stained the earth in this border village as anguished Syrians buried relatives they said were killed in the U.S. helicopter attack Sunday. Some shouted anti-American slogans and carried banners reading "Down with Bush and the American enemy."
The operation targeted the home of Abu Ghadiyah, the nickname for the leader of a key cell of foreign fighters in Iraq, the U.S. official told The Associated Press from Washington. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive intelligence..."
"A Russian military unit has arrived in Syria, according to Russian news reports, a development that a United Nations Security Council source told ABC News was "a bomb" certain to have serious repercussions.
Russia, one of President Bashar al-Assad's strongest allies despite international condemnation of the government's violent crackdown on the country's uprising, has repeatedly blocked the United Nations Security Council's attempts to halt the violence, accusing the U.S. and its allies of trying to start another war.
Now the Russian Black Sea fleet's Iman tanker has arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea with an anti-terror squad from the Russian Marines aboard according to the Interfax news agency. The Assad government has insisted it is fighting a terrorist insurgency.
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The Iman replaced another Russian ship "which had been sent to Syria for demonstrating (sic) the Russian presence in the turbulent region and possible evaluation of Russian citizens," the Black Sea Fleet told Interfax.
RIA Novosti, a news outlet with strong ties to the Kremlin, trumpeted the news in a banner headline that appeared only on its Arabic language website. The Russian embassy to the US and to the UN had no comment, saying they have "no particular information on" the arrival of a Russian anti-terrorism squad to Syria.
Moscow has long enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Assad regime, to which it sells billions of dollars of weapons. In return Russia has maintained a Navy base at Tartus, which gives it access to the Mediterranean.
Last week Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia had no plans to send troops to Syria.
"As for the question whether I consider it necessary to confront the United States in Syria and ensure our military presence there… in order to take part in military actions -- no. I believe this would be against Russia's national interests," Lavrov told lawmakers, according to RIA Novosti.
Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov denied reports that Russian special forces were operating inside Syria. He did say, however, that there are Russian military and technical advisors in the country.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the U.S. government had not heard of the reports of Russian troops in Syria and declined to comment.
Click Here for the Blotter Homepage."
"Syria is significant in the history of Christianity; Saul of Tarsus was converted on the Road to Damascus, thereafter being known as the Apostle Paul, and established the first organized Christian Church at Antioch in ancient Syria, from which he left on many of his missionary journeys...."
Syrian Christians of Kerala
"St. Thomas one of the 12 disciples of Christ set up Christianity in Kerala as early as AD52. A short film showing the still existing similarities in customs and traditions of the Hindus and Christians of Kerala. "
"An investigation into the detention and torture of Syrian civilians, featuring shocking video evidence of men, women and children being subjected to beatings, whippings and more elaborate torture.
In this film, victims, refugees and activists who have experienced or witnessed such brutality at the hands of Syrian President al-Assad's forces speak out.
Their stories, combined with the torture footage, refute President Assad's claims that his forces are simply quelling an armed insurgency.
To follow the conversation on twitter use the hash tag #torturemachine.
Disturbing and distressing descriptions and film of torture and atrocities, including the deaths of children.
Iraqi Christians in Syria
"Iraqi Christians are suffering in Syria as in Iraq.. a report from NBC"
Israel's 1967 Miracle
"Forty years ago, Israel was surrounded by hostile forces on three fronts - Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The nation's political and military leaders decided Israel must strike first and take the Arabs by surprise "
The Miracle of Damascus: Part One [Lo Res for Dial-up]
"May we all be one on Earth as Christ is One with the Father in Heaven. This begins with forgiving and loving one another.
" The Aramean people of Mesopotamia (= Aram-Naharaim in Hebrew, meaning “Aram of the two rivers”), the original inhabitants of the Fertile Crescent, who have been present for thousands of years in the region of Aram-Naharaim and have made a great contribution to the world civilisations, especially through their language - the Syriac (Aramaic)- also spoken by Jesus Christ, which is still in use by various Aramean denominations throughout the world, are a people with a glorious history, but they are now in danger of being forgotten, as well as frequently being misrepresented. The Italian film producer Giacomo Pezalli was so impressed by the history of one of the oldest existing Semitic people in the world that he decided to make a film about this people entitled” The Hidden Pearl: The Aramaic Heritage of the Syrian Orthodox Church”. The script for the film is written, among others, by the British professor in Hebrew and Aramaic, Sebastian P. Brock, who is a professor at Oxford University . This marvellous multimedia project can serve as a source of information for those who are interested in the culture, religion and history of one of the oldest Semitic people of the middle-east, who have been living in this part of the world for thousands of years." Wikipedia "were a Semitic (West Semitic language group), semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who had lived in upper Mesopotamia and Syria. Aramaeans have never had a unified empire; they were divided into independent kingdoms all across the Near East. Yet to these Aramaeans befell the privilege of imposing their language and culture upon the entire Near East and beyond, fostered in part by the mass relocations enacted by successive empires, including the Assyrians and Babylonians. Scholars even have used the term 'Aramaization' for the Assyro-Babylonian peoples' languages and cultures, that have become Aramaic-speaking."