Monthly Archives: October 2016

Syrians …..

More Photos of Mufti (code M), Patriarch Laham (Code L), Patriarch Ephraim (Code S) in higher resolution in this folder.


His Grace, Dr Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria, is pictured, centre above, with me on the right and well-known journalist, Kaouthar Bachraoui, on the left. The photo was taken in Easter week 2014, just before I got into Ma’loula on Easter Sunday with Syria’s Christian hierarchy, under the protection of the Syrian Arab Army and local Assyrian and Lebanese irregulars.

This Wikipedia link gives some information on His Grace, whose apolitical son,  Sariya, was brutally murdered by the “moderate” rebels on October 2, 2011 for no other crime than being his son. Like all moderate Muslims who want to live in peace, the Mufti and his family have been priority targets for the moderate rebels, whose mission depends on fomenting sectarian violence. As well as surviving the gunmen, Gulf States have offered him tens of millions of dollars to defect. Being a fearless journalist, Ms Bachrau has lethal enemies aplenty as well.

Though this Wikipedia link summarises the important role of a Grand Mufti, it must be stressed that Mufti Hassoun has a very thorough grounding in his faith. This is important to note, when we see the types of  semi-literate scoundrels the rebels and their backers are putting forward to replace those they murder or banish.


His Beatitude, Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Alexandria and Jerusalem, spiritual leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Dr Ahmad al Khaddour, who has selflessly translated for me on numerous occasions is on the extreme right.  The late Cheikh Mohammad Izzat Al Matroud, the leader of the tribe of the Noble Sirs (al Sadat al Ashrâf), who are related to the Prophet Mohammad via Bani Hashem, is standing next to me at the extreme left. Cheikh Mohammad, who was a very simple man and the most moderate and gentle of Muslims, was a tireless worker for peace – until the moderate rebels lured him into an ambush and brutally murdered him as they have done to so many other moderate Sunnis.

This Wikipedia link explains the important role of the Greek Catholic or Melkite Church  and the bridge it forms between Eastern and Western societies.  This Wikipedia link gives some detail on Patriarch Laham, who has been subject to the vilest slanders, because he has remained through to his beliefs, his people and his homeland.


His Holiness, Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, spiritual leader of the Syriac Orthodox Church. This Wikipedia link gives background information on the Syriac Orthodox Church. This Wikipedia link gives information on Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem. I took the photo at a Syriac youth gathering in Saydnaya in September 2016.


With regard to the Syriac Orthodox Church, it must be noted that they are suffering greatly. Very many, like Bishop Ibrahim, above left, have been kidnapped and presumably murdered by the rebels and those who abhor Asia Minor’s indigenous Christians.


The moderate rebels kidnapped these Syriac kids in north eastern Syria, shortly after this Halloween  photo of them out trick or treating, was taken. It is a terrible indictment that these crimes happen with the complicity of the West.

Armenians, Syriacs, Pontic Greeks


The terrible fate of the Syriacs will forever be linked with that of the Armenians and Pontic Greeks and indeed with Syria (Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine which saved countless tens of thousands of them during the 1915-23 genocide). Both Armenia and the Armenian diaspora  have been amongst the most generous in helping the people of the Syrian Arab Republic during the current Crisis. The above photo was taken in the Armenian Orthodox Cathedral of Damascus during the 2015 commemoration of the Armenian, Syriac and Pontic Greek genocides.


We took this photo of this lovely young Syriac girl making her First Holy Communion in the old quarter of Damascus on 24 April 2015, the 100th anniversary of when the Turks began the genocide on 24 April 1915. She and her mother are living hope that the Syriacs and all Syrians will prevail if we put our shoulders to the wheel and help them.  Syriac mother and daughter were, to me, the highlight of our visit.

More Photos of Mufti (code M), Patriarch Laham (Code L), Patriarch Ephraim (Code S) in higher resolution in this folder.