Author Topic: Lebanese Christians pray for Assad victory  (Read 326 times)

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Lebanese Christians pray for Assad victory
« on: October 20, 2013, 06:31:55 AM »
Via al Jazeera:

Jdeideh-Fakehe, Lebanon - Sister Jeanette's eyes narrow and her speech slows down to emphasise every word. Sitting on the edge of the sofa, her hands grip the cushions at her sides.

"The refugee problem is affecting our lives, down to the tiny details," she said. 

Syria's war has put a formidable burden on Lebanon with acute overcrowding the result of the nearly one million refugees who have fled here.

Sister Jeanette lists the problems the predominantly Christian Jdeideh-Fakehe community in the Bekaa Valley are experiencing: water, electricity, and food production have all been severely taxed, causing months-long shortages.

But strain on the community's resources isn't the worst part. The proximity of hardline rebel groups operating in Syria is now a major concern for residents here.

"Just over there," she points east out of the window, "are ISIS [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria]. These are people worse than Jabhat al-Nusra, they are people who chop off heads and eat hearts."

There is fear in my community that Salafis will install themselves here. No one trusts them because they kill Christians who have nothing to do with the war … No one wants to go back 500 years.

- Milad Rizk , mayor of Qaa

Sister Jeanette's fears are similar to those of many Christians living in the Bekaa Valley. She, like many other Christians, have been driven to hope for a victory by President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria - and soon.

Overcrowding, desperate fear of extremist rebels, and solidarity for Assad's ally Hezbollah have contributed to the sentiment heard over again here from the Bekaa's Christians: "We prefer Bashar."

Under pressure

The influx of Syrian refugees has "severely impacted" Lebanon's already-fragile economy and carefully maintained socio-political fabric, according to UNHCR public information officer Joelle Eid.

The result has been the worst violence the country has seen since the end of its civil war in 1990. The number of refugees is projected to reach 25 percent of Lebanon's population by the end of the year, Eid said.

Bekaa Valley residents have perhaps been the hardest-hit in Lebanon by the fallout from the Syrian war. According to Eid, some 269,000 Syrians - 34 percent of Lebanon's total - have moved into this impoverished region to escape the war.

More at link.

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