February 12, 2012
“The tumult is being instigated by external forces, not members of the Syrian society,” the patriarch told Russian experts who arrived at his residence in Damascus.
He also ruled out the possibility of any repressions against Christians living in Syria. “There are no security guards in the Patriarch’s Office, the situation is calm. Christians in Syria stand secure, in contrast to Egypt and Iraq.”
“There are no anti-Christian spirits in the Syrian society,” the patriarch added.
Today five churches use the title of Patriarch of Antioch: the Syriac Orthodox Church, Syriac Catholic Church, the Chalcedonian Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, Melkite Greek Catholic Church and the Maronite Church.
The meeting with the patriarch was organized by Syrian state news agency Sana.
Russia has firmly supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the uprising against his regime. Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria, backed by the Arab League and Western nations, to prevent a repetition of “the Libyan scenario.”
During a visit to Damascus last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said President Assad was ready for dialogue with all political forces.
Human rights groups say more than 7,000 people have died since the nationwide uprising began in March last year.
On Friday, violence spread to Syria’s second largest city of Aleppo with two bomb blasts that killed at least 28 people and wounded more than 200 others.