In an exclusive interview with independent American journalist Lee Stranahan, Syrian refugees say the attack on the predominantly Christian village of Maaloula was aided by Muslims living in the town. The revelation that their neighbors were joining with the Syrian rebel jihadists to terrorize Christians in the small village about 45 minutes north of Damacscus came as a shock to them.
For weeks in early September, the world got sketchy reports on the back and forth fighting in Maaloula, as combined Syrian rebel forces consisting of U.S. backed ‘Free Syria Army’ fighters battled next to al-Qaeda backed al-Nusra troops against Syrian goverment forces for control of the town.
The Maalourla survivors, speaking out for the first time, said that the Free Syria Army troops were as one with the al-Nusra warriors. They described in heartbreakng detail how Maaloula’s townspeople were terrorized and some killed for being Christian.
The attack began with a suicide bomber attacking the local checkpoint. One survivor said that armed Muslims were inside her house almost immediately, and held a machine gun to her husband’s head. The Islamists bragged about smashing a statue of Mary and taunted the family for their Christianity. The survivor broke down in tears describing her fear that her daughter would be raped by the men and that the family would be killed.
When the Maaloula witnesses was told that U.S Sec. of State John Kerry had referred to the FSA forces as ‘moderate’ in Senate testimony, she closed her eyes, shook her head both and forth and said “No no no no no.”
She said that she didn’t trust the press after seeing their reporting on the situation in Maaloula, which deemphasized the Islamist elements of the attack.
More details from the interview will be released in the next few days.