the Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo Jean-Clement Jeanbart. File photo
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GENEVA – Russia’s military buildup in Syria is “a source of hope” for the country’s Christians, the Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo Jean-Clement Jeanbart said on Thursday.
Jeanbart welcomed the Russian military intervention in Syria, saying that the Russian President Vladimir Putin “serves the Christians’ cause”.
The archbishop said in an interview with Suisse Romande television that the Russian airstrikes on Islamists “renewed the confidence among Christians in Syria”.
Syrian Christians, among other minorities, have suffered suppression during the nearly five-year war, especially at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group.
ISIS executed on Wednesday three Christian Assyrians who have been taken as hostages last February after a major offensive by the extremist group on Christian areas in Hasakah province in northeastern Syria.
“Putin is solving a problem,” archbishop Jeanbart said, in reference to the Russian raids in Syria.
The Russian military operations in Syria started last week under the pretext of combatting ISIS militants. However, opposition activists and Western leaders said that Russia mainly targets anti-Assad moderate rebels in its strikes.
Reporting by: Lorin Silo