Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., has given President Trump a grand opportunity to do something he has yet to do in his first months in office: make significant progress on religious freedom for persecuted Christians and other religious minorities around the world. With the recent passage of the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act (HR 390) by the House of Representatives, the President is well-positioned to make a bold move to stabilize the region.
If passed by the Senate, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act will provide relief to those victimized by the ongoing genocide, human rights violations and war crimes by terrorist groups. But it is perhaps the secondary effects of this bill that will lead to the most powerful and lasting impact.
HR 390 allows the U.S. to assist in the reestablishment of Christian, Yazidi and other minority communities in the Middle East, which are central to the survival of a pluralistic and open society—a giant slap in the face to the stated goal of ISIS to drive out all those who do not embrace their savage ideology. It also gives hundreds of thousands of refugees the opportunity to return to their homes instead of seeking refugee status in the West or risking dangerous journeys to enter Europe in desperation. And to be sure, as we often witness firsthand at Open Doors through our work on the ground in Iraq and Syria, many Christians wish to remain in their homeland and would do so if they had not lost hope after years without resources, as the world turns a blind eye to their plight… read more
As many as 82 people have been killed in a wave of slaughter carried out by the Islamic State terror group in central Hama province in Syria, with reports that women and children have been beheaded and dismembered.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights provided the latest update on the slaughter on Friday, noting that as many as 82 people have been killed in what is the most violent single attack on the countryside of Salamiyah city in more than two years.
SOHR clarified that 56 of the casualties were people killed in the villages of Aqareb al-Safi and Al-Mabujeh, with five children younger than 18 and four women among the dead.
Another 26 casualties were IS members, who were killed during the violent attack…. read more
Assad regime reportedly buried thousands after mass executions; Reports come from US intelligence gathering and human rights groups; USA: We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place in Sednaya prison.
The Unites States reported on Monday that it has evidence that Syrian President Bashaar al-Assad built a crematorium at a military prison outside of Damascus.
United States President Donald Trump’s Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Stuart Jones, confirmed the evidence from United States intelligence that Assad’s regime has disposed of bodies into mass graves and has built a crematorium. He stated that “Credible sources have believed that many of the bodies have been disposed in mass graves. We now believe that the Syrian regime has installed a crematorium in the Sednaya prison complex which could dispose of detainees’ remains with little evidence.”… read more
A deadly blast on the outskirts of Aleppo has overshadowed efforts to swap thousands of civilians and fighters in Syria.
The death toll from a bomb attack on a crowded bus convoy outside Aleppo, Syria has reached at least 126 in the deadliest such incident in the country in almost a year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says.
Syrian rescue workers of the Civil Defence said that they had taken away at least 100 bodies from the site of the Saturday [Sunday NZ Time] blast, which hit buses carrying Shi’ite residents as they waited to cross from rebel into government territory in an evacuation deal between the warring sides.
The British-based Observatory said on Sunday the number was expected to rise…. read more
President Trump’s missile strikes on the Assad regime have re-opened the divide among former Obama administration officials over their much-critiqued Syria policy.
While some Barack Obama allies criticized Trump and defended the former administration’s diplomatic approach, others could hardly contain their relief that the U.S. had taken military action in response to chemical weapons use.
“Donald Trump has done the right thing on Syria. Finally!! After years of useless handwringing in the face of hideous atrocities,” tweeted Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former policy planner in Obama’s State Department…. read more
lhwm notes: The cost of lies and weakness, the lives of women and children.