Fighting in Syria today (11/1/15) has been intense, and for me, very tension-filled, as I’ve had stressful reports throughout the day. There has been fighting in several provinces, and I’ve updated my webpage to give you those reports (for those following events in Syria’s war), but one battle is hitting close to home.
A little after midnight, ISIS gained full control over the town of Maheen in the eastern countryside of Homs province after intense firefights with Syrian National Defense Forces. ISIS began the assault with two suicide bombings via automobiles at the National Defense Forces checkpoint just outside of the town. ISIS then assaulted Syrian National Army positions inside the town and ISIS was able to take full control of Maheen.
Syrian National Forces then withdrew to Sadad, which is strategically located, and which the Syrian Forces recaptured last year. They have a quasi-base there. Sadad is a small village, primarily Christian. I have neighbors who have family living there, so I am closely tied to the situation.
The residents of Sadad know what will happen to them if ISIS captures their town. Why? Because almost exactly two years ago US-backed “rebels”, along with al-Qaeda in Syria (aka al-Nusra), attacked the town and conducted a large-scale massacre of Christians. Civilians. Yes, US-backed “rebels” attacked a civilian village and murdered them—for no reason other than the fact that they were Christian.
I’m going to give you highlights of the attached link, and hope you “share” this Facebook post, so your friends can read the entire article as well as my above comments. If you “cut and paste” I will not see how many shared this post—and that is how I judge what type of articles people want to read.
Many of you may think: “the Russians will take care of this situation”, but no, the Russians are not making air strikes on civilian areas. My take on their strategy is that they have been pounding ISIS and al-Qaeda’s weapons stockpiles, bases, camps, etc., and they are hitting them at their transport routes so that they are unable to re-arm themselves or add more militants to their troops.
From the beginning I think the Russians and Syrian forces have given much thought to the 100 or so small Christian villages, many of which are occupied by Islamist “rebels”, or by ISIS, who hold civilians hostage and commit atrocities on them. These are tightly populated villages—air strikes will harm civilians. So, Russian and Syrian air strikes have not targeted these areas and probably won’t.
After ISIS and al-Qaeda are contained as much as possible, these villages will have to be approached via ground troops and my opinion is that it will be almost hand-to-hand combat.
This morning’s capture of Maheen was unexpected. Sadad’s civilian population and the National Forces who are there, will be fighting ISIS without the help of Russian air strikes. God Bless Sadad. Here are some excerpts from the link:
45 civilians were killed in Sadad for no reason, other than the fact that the US-backed “rebels” were Islamists and the civilians were Christians
Among those murdered were women and children, many of whom were tossed into mass graves. Other civilians were tortured and strangled.
For one week, more than 1,500 families were held as hostages and human shields by US-backed rebels. Among the hostages were children, the elderly, the young, men and women … they were civilians
Some of the villagers escaped and travelled on foot for 5 miles to the village of al-Hafer.
Approximately 2,500 families escaped, only able to take a few items of clothing. Today, many of these families are refugees in camps in Damascus, Homs Fairouza, Zaydal, Maskane, and al-Fhayle.
Civilians unable to escape, which were primarily the elderly, disabled, women and young children – were subjected to torture and strangulation.
One family was tortured and then thrown alive in a well to slowly die from their injuries. The bodies were recovered when the Syrian National Army was finally able to recapture Sadad and rescue the remaining survivors. The family members were an elderly grandfather, age 85, his wife, 75, their daughter 45, her children 18, 16, and the paternal grandmother, 90 years old.
Those who could not get out quickly enough to escape the US-backed rebels and al-Qaeda, were forced to live without electricity, water or telephone–as these are the things the “rebels” shut down immediately when they take a village or city. They have been conducting these types of attacks for over four years and always cut off power, water and heat.
Every single house in Sadad was robbed and the property vandalized. The churches were severely damaged and artifacts destroyed, including historical bibles and records, and also valuable furnishings.
Schools were demolished, as well as the hospital and the clinic (there was no aid for the injured–this is always done on purpose in every town or city the rebels capture).
Sadad had been a town of about 15,000 people, mostly Syriac Orthodox Christians. It had 14 churches and a monastery with four priests.
The Massacre at Sadad was the largest massacre of Christians in Syria at that time (there have been worse massacres since), and it was the second largest massacre in the Middle East–after the massacre at the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq in 2010.
Sadad is an ancient city and is mentioned in the books of Numbers and Ezekiel in the Bible. It was home to many historic landmarks and archaeological sites–before the rebels destroyed them.
Syrians in Damascus made a public outcry about the massacres–hoping the western media would tell the story. They expected the world to see that the Islamist Rebels were not for “freedom” and that they attack civilians. But this story, among so many over the last 4 years, has never been told.
After battles that lasted months, Sadad was finally recaptured by the Syrian National Army’s 4th Mechanized Division. Immediately following full recapture, thousands of Sadad residents who were living in camps, returned to their home. Now they face ISIS.
But after the recapture of Sadad and the return of some of its residents, the Syrian National Forces’ Central Command began to train and arm every citizen who was willing to join the civilian-led “National Defense Forces” (NDF). Within just a few months time, the number of NDF members from Sadad grew to over 4,000 men and women. God Bless the people of Sadad.
(Make sure you check my Syria Update webpage for details about the fighting; it includes the US-backed rebels kidnapping Alewite females, putting them in cages and on display in the middle of the town square so that Russia will not conduct air strikes.)
UPDATE on the ISIS attack on the Christian town of Sadad:
Yesterday morning (11/1/15) ISIS continued their attacks towards the Christian town of Sadad inside the eastern countryside of Homs province, north of Damascus, heading towards the strategic Homs-Damascus Highway in which they want total control over.
But ISIS was met with powerful resistance when they neared the gates of Sadad. They were greeted with a bombardment of gunfire and rockets from the civilian-led armies of the National Defense Forces and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (the second largest political party in Syria, of which members have been armed and trained to fight with the Syrian Army against foreign Islamist groups trying to take their country).
ISIS was prevented from entering Sadad’s barricades and the terrorists were forced to withdraw to the Maheen-Sadad Checkpoint (which they assaulted and captured yesterday). But ISIS wasn’t able to escape so easily; they were chased by a large number of Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) members who wanted revenge for yesterday’s attack on Maheen and the resulting death of fellow Syrians (ISIS members are not Syrian nationals, so the Syrian people feel great hatred for the invasion of Syria and the death of fellow Syrians by the hands of foreigners).
The SSNP soldiers hit ISIS at the checkpoint, killing many ISIS members, then took control over the location. After this capture, the SSNP and National Defense Forces repelled a large-scale assault by ISIS in a small village on the road to the Christian town of Deir Attiyeh.
Visit CheriBerens for the most recent updates.