President Al-Assad: Christians in Syria are not Guests or Migrant Birds

DAMASCUS, (ST)- President Bashar Al-Assad has stressed that  the strength of eastern Christians stems from their living in full integration with other religions in the region in general and in Syria in particular.

President Al-Assad made the remarks during his meeting on Sunday with participants in the Syriac Youth General Gathering -Syria 2017 in the presence of Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for Syriac Orthodox Mor Ignatius Aphrem II and a number of patriarchs and archbishops.

"Syria is a homogeneous country and Christianity in our region is targeted as to disrupt this homogeneity and to divide the region into sectarian and religious states with the purpose of legalizing the existence of a Jewish state in occupied Palestine; a scheme that won't be accepted by any Syrian," said President Al-Assad.

 He added that "such gathering are a message to the inside and the outside that Christians in Syria are not guests or migrant birds; rather they are the basis of the homeland's existence, because without them the diverse Syria we know has no existence and, at the same time, Christians without Syria have no land or existence."

 During the meeting, President Al-Assad discussed with participants in the gathering the role of young generations in building Syria's future and the importance of enhancing dialogue as the only way to develop and build the homeland and as the real alternative for religious and social extremism.

The meeting also focused on the Christian presence in Syria in general and the Syriac presence in particular being a basic component of the Syrian national fiber. It also focused on the Christians' steadfastness in the face of incessant displacement attempts throughout history and at present as a result of terrorism.

President Al-Assad pointed out that "the failed attempts to pressure Christians have helped enemies to target them by targeting Islam through extremism and through producing extremist thinking that never coexists with the other. But we, as Syrians, won't allow enemies to destroy our country by their backwardness or short-sightedness."

On his part, Patriarch Aphrem II said the gathering aimed at consolidating dialogue among all components of the Syrian society  and to confront anti-Syria propaganda which claims that what is going on in Syria is a "civil war".

He stressed that Christians in Syria will continue to be adherent to their land despite all West's attempts to convince them to give up the land of their predecessors.

Hamda Mustafa