May 1, 2013
Samir Satouf is a longtime dissident of the Assad regime, both father and son, who lives in Algiers. He discussed the kidnappings of the two bishops in Aleppo with Nuha Shabaan by Skype.
Q: How did you hear about the abduction? Who did this? What do you know about the operation?
A: First we heard it from the regime media. Then we start to look for more details and contacting the infield battalions of Kfr Da’el in Homs. The regime promise to release them is just to insure that the regime is the one behind that. Otherwise how could they promise to get them back if they already said the two bishops were kidnapped by the extremists?
The Syrian regime was the first one who announces this operation. The news we get from the regime was contradicted. The two bishops were working to free the two priests kidnapped in last February. Father Polis interred Aleppo from turkey he is the brother of Father Yaziji Bishop. A group of armed people confronted them, took the driver and a fourth person out of the car. The bishops token to unknown place. The driver was founded dead in a far place. The information from the regime is contradicted. They give news to Lebanese news paper, Al Jomhuryeh which says that the kidnappers are Chechens and that means the regime is behind this. It is clear to everybody the Chechens work for the regime. Especially after knowing the Chechens’ battalion is led by Abu Omar, but they are under blockade of FSA.
Q: What do you think the regime wants from kidnapping the two bishops if you believe the regime did that?
A: Giving messages to the Christians inside Syria, because the regime starts to feel Christians are going more to the revolution side. The second thing to improve the Russian situation in the American Russian meeting, with opinion that the situation is going to civil war in Syria and the only solution left now is political.
Q: An estimated one third of the Christians are with the revolution and the other are with the regime. Do you think this operation will turn the table on the Syrian regime?
A: I don’t agree with you about saying the two other third are with govt. I would say the third are with revolution and more than a half is afraid, hesitating, or keeping silence. Few are with the regime and most of them are Shabiha.
Q: Regarding Christians who are afraid from the revolution and the Islamists. Does the existence of George Sabra in the revolution give them some feeling of safety?
A: No, because George Sabra is a member of revolution not because he is Christian. Also he is not very interested in the promoting the Christian sect. The true insurance for Christians in Syria is calmness in the country with [full] civic rights.