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CSI asks President Obama for Easter Ceasefire in Syria

Easter Offensive from Syrian Rebels in Aleppo Threatens Christian Remnant

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This Good Friday, Dr. John Eibner, the CEO of Christian Solidarity International (CSI-USA), urged President Obama to "insist" that the "Islamist allies of the United States," Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, "order their proxy military forces in Syria to observe a permanent cease-fire beginning this Easter Sunday, and enter into serious peace talks with their political opponents."

Eibner also asked President Obama to raise Pope Francis I's openly expressed concern about religious persecution in Syria and the broader Muslim-majority Middle East with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Emir Tamim bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

Quoting from a communication he received this week from a Christian social worker trapped in the rebel-besieged city of Aleppo, Eibner informed President Obama about the grim conditions there:

"We are in a state of siege. The rebels are trying to enter the safe zone and are hitting us with rockets. There are explosions all over the city. The road towards the outside of the city is closed. The prices of food started jumping higher and nothing is entering the city. The situation has been getting worse for over two weeks: No telephone, no electricity, etc. Today, I have Internet access for the first time in many days. Despite the rockets more than 350 people were in church on Palm Sunday. But we are not sure if we will be able to worship in church on Good Friday or on Easter. May the Lord's will be done."

Eibner protested the President's policy of using "radical, anti-Christian Islamist proxies" to achieve his declared goal of overthrowing the Assad regime, Russia's sole remaining ally in the Middle East. This regime change policy, he said, is resulting in "the transformation – through religious cleansing – of multi-religious, multi-cultural Syria into a religiously intolerant Sunni Islamist country."

Eibner also informed President Obama of two additional recent cases of religious cleansing by rebel forces in Syria. While undertaking a CSI humanitarian aid action in Iraq earlier this month, Eibner assisted Assyrian Christian refugees from Syria. Their ancestors found refuge in Syria after first fleeing the Genocide of Christians in Turkey in 1915-1918, and then the Simele Massacres of Christians in Iraq in 1933. They have now fled back to Iraq to escape jihadi rebels in Syria, who forced them to choose between "converting to Islam, paying protection money, being killed, or leaving their homes within 48 hours." Eibner also drew Obama's attention to the March 21 expulsion of Armenian Christians from the village of Kassab, near the Turkish border. They were attacked by jihadi rebels with backing from the United States' NATO ally Turkey.

"There is good reason," Eibner wrote, "to believe that the current siege of hitherto 'safe' zones in Aleppo and the recent religious cleansing of Armenian Christians from Kassab is a result of an intensification of U.S. covert operations" in support of rebel groups in Syria, an intensification the Washington Post revealed on March 27, citing anonymous "knowledgeable officials."  Eibner reminded the President that "the United States used the same dangerous networks of Sunni extremists, among them Al Qaeda and the Taliban, to fight the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1980s – a policy that ultimately resulted in heightened global threats of jihadi terror, including the 9/11 attacks against the United States."

Eibner concluded with an appeal to President Obama to inform the American people exactly how many additional deaths, displacements, and cases of violent religious persecution, he will regard as acceptable collateral damage in the pursuit of regime change in Syria.

Christian Solidarity International is a Christian human rights group advocating for and bringing aid to displaced and threatened Christians in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria.  It has issued a Genocide Warning for religious minorities in the Islamic Middle East.

Contact: Joel Veldkamp, 515-421-7258, [email protected]

SOURCE Christian Solidarity International (CSI)

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