INTERVIEWS: N/A

BTOT_037

From Aleppo. 

My fate was either to stay in Syria and die or to run away. That is how I felt as a Christian. Christians are getting caught in the middle of this fight. We are being targeted by the Islamists, and if you try to side with the FSA, you're going to be targeted by the regime. You are going to be seen as a traitor either way. 

“Alawite to the tomb and Christians to Beirut!” is one of the sayings that I heard at the protests. That is why the only way for my family to be safe is to stay in a regime-controlled area, and for Bashar to stay in power. If he goes, my family goes. If FSA enters their neighborhood, only God knows what is going to happen to them. Even if the people in the neighborhood end up supporting the FSA, then the area will be bombed by the regime.  

We are stuck in the middle. When I went to the UNHCR to sign up for benefits there were some people from Dara’a there. I gave them my opinion and said, “I don’t take sides because everybody is wrong. You are killing each other for no reason!”  

It was clear from the start that this was not a secular revolution, but a fight between Sunni and Alawite. They told me that I had to take a side, but my family is not like that. My neighborhood in Aleppo was Alawite, Sunni, Shiite, Kurdish, Armenian, and all of the other Syrian people groups. As a kid, if I ever said, “that’s a Sunni”, “that’s a Shiite”, or “that’s an Alawite” my father would hit me. 

We are not gun owners. We are not interested in killing. Most of the Christians that I know are like that. The Christians who support the regime are just afraid of the FSA. That is one of the reasons my parents made me get out of Syria. They know that since I am a man, I will have to do military service. But they would kill me before seeing me join the army and go to war.