“The European Union is shamelessly advertising its assistance to children of Syria, but is in fact denying them the essentials,” a co-chairman of the Committee for Solidarity with the Peoples of Syria and Libya Oleg Fomin said in a live feed of Pravda.Ru. As an eyewitness, he spoke about a Convent of St. Thecla captured by the Islamists for the second time and attitudes in the Syrian society.
Oleg Fomin oversees the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria through the IOPS and the Committee of Solidarity with the Peoples of Syria and Libya. He explained that the assistance has been provided since April via Syrian airlines and Emergency Ministry aircraft. The activist emphasized that this aid was comprehensive, because IOPS is a secular organization.
Humanitarian aid is delivered to both the patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East John X, and Supreme Mufti of the Syrian Arab Republic Dr. Ahmad Badr -Eddin Hassoun. They distribute it among the flock. Fomin said that part of the aid was sent personally to Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix, the Abbess of the Carmelite convent of St. James who conducts educational work in the West and among the rebels. Many rebels influenced by her either laid down their arms or transferred over to the regular army.
Mainly, the aid includes medicine and medical equipment, including incubators for newborns. Syrians experience a particularly acute need in baby food. “Europe that brags about its struggle for human rights and humanitarian aid has in fact denied the Syrians the essentials,” said Fomin.
Fomin reported that under the initiative of the Russian Patriarch Cyril, a community center for protection of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa has been created. This has restored historical justice, because at the time of creating IOPS in 1882, there was a unit of support of Orthodoxy in the Holy Land. It was engaged in construction of schools (there were 110 of them), churches, orthodox cathedrals, and organized training for IOPS school graduates in Russian seminaries. “We are performing our main task – the support of Christianity in the Holy Land, and we do not make the difference between Orthodox, Maronites, and Jacobites,” said the IOPS activist.
“We are discovering Orthodox Lebanon, and use its territory to transit aid to Syria. We are creating an IOPS branch there, and similar branches are operating in Palestine and Jerusalem,” said Fomin. It will be headed by the Mayor of Amyun, the center of Orthodox culture in Lebanon. The city also hosts the Antioch Orthodox Church, as well as Maronites and other Christians. We are working with the Shia, and representatives of other religions.” Fomin said that the situation in the Valley of the Christians in Syria that extends from Homs to Tartus, and where Christian villages are located, was very difficult, and that they were seeking Russia’s assistance. The area was infiltrated by jihadists who announced the Valley a territory of the Arab Caliphate. “Unfortunately, we have only now begun talking about the confessional composition of the Syrians, previously we did not make this distinction. Now the rebels and mercenaries are inciting inter-religious hatred at the request of the Arab monarchies,” said the activist.
He is confident that today we are not talking about the fall of the Assad regime, “these are the hopes of the West expressed by the yellow press that have not come true.” According to Fomin, the legitimate government is holding thanks to the people’s army composed mainly of Sunni, and not Alawite like the Western press presents it. These are the children of workers and peasants, this is a conscript, strong-spirited army; these people are performing their patriotic duty. Now it has a new tactic when instead of displacing mercenaries, they surround them and wait for them to surrender, otherwise the rebels are destroyed by fire.
“People support their army, I can confirm this as a witness,” assured Fomin. He believes that Assad has good prospects for victory. The opponents have a goal of making Syria unsustainable to ensure that it does not oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the liberation of East Jerusalem, or demands the return of its occupied territory. “Only our crafty politicians leading virtual institutes allegedly studying the Middle East can say that the regime of Bashar al-Assad is beneficial for Israel. This is not the case, Assad is an organized opposition, and they can easily buy scattered gangs.”
Now Iran is helping Syria, but Syria is a self-sufficient country even during the war, Fomin argued. He believes that Syria must be accepted into a free trade zone with the Customs Union. “We need to develop bilateral ties, because we are linked not only with the economy, but also history, culture, Soviet families, faith. Antioch Church is our big sister, it helped the Russian Orthodox Church to become apostolic, and we helped it to become Arabized. Syria is a holy Land both for the Orthodox and Muslims,” said Fomin.
He lamented that currently the Russian Center of Culture and Science in Damascus is closed for security reasons, and before it was visited by up to 700 people a day. There is an idea to invite Syrian cartoonists, artists, and photographers to the Russian Federation. Fomin said that the Catholic church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Maalyulya was destroyed, and the Convent of St. Thecla was so far operational. “I personally talked to Pelagea (the interview took place prior to the recent taking of the nuns hostage), abbess of the monastery. First bandits spared it, but the nuns had about 40 children there, and refugees, and they were locked in the mountains by militants. We delivered aid for them to Damascus, but I don’t know if it reaches them. It is easier to collect aid than to deliver it.”
Fomin assured that there was no famine in Syria similar to that in the besieged Leningrad, except for the areas blocked by militants. The government was helping the communities by organizing bread delivery. Fomin is optimistic, but believes there are reasons to sound the alarm. “The Syrian rebels do not want to participate in the peace process,” said the activist. He expressed confidence that Assad will win in the upcoming 2014 presidential election by a wide margin, collecting 60 percent of the vote. “I saw how people treat him and his wife Asma who is engaged in charitable activities. She visited thousands of families, people love her, and our female collaborators admire her kind heart,” said Oleg Fomin in a live feed of Pravda.Ru in Point of View program.
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