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Father Daniel; Mar Yakub monastery

‘Putin and Assad saved my life’

Flemish Father Daniël Maes (78) has been a witness to the “civil war” in Syria, but he says Western reports on the conflict in Syria are completely misleading: “The Americans and their allies want to completely ruin the country.”

Published: February 10, 2017, 7:39 am

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    He lives in Syria in the sixth-century-old Mar Yakub monastery in the city of Qara, 90 kilometers north of the capital Damascus. Father Daniel is most critical of the media coverage on Syria. He was interviewed by the Algemeen Dagblad or AD, a Dutch newspaper.

    “The idea that a popular uprising took place against President Assad is completely false. I’ve been in Qara since 2010 and I have seen with my own eyes how agitators from outside Syria organized protests against the government and recruited young people. That was filmed and aired by Al Jazeera to give the impression that a rebellion was taking place. Murders were committed by foreign terrorists, against the Sunni and Christian communities, in an effort to sow religious and ethnic discord among the Syrian people. While in my experience, the Syrian people were actually very united.

    “Before the war, this was a harmonious country: a secular state in which different religious communities lived side by side peacefully. There was hardly any poverty, education was free, and health care was good. It was only not possible to freely express your political views. But most people did not care about that.”

    He says thousands of terrorists settled in Qara, and the residents started fearing for their lives.

    “They came from the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Turkey, Libya, there were many Chechens. They formed a foreign occupation force, all allied to al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Armed to the teeth by the West and their allies with the intention to act against us, they literally said: ‘This country belongs to us now.’ Often, they were drugged, they fought each other, in the evening they fired randomly. We had to hide in the crypts of the monastery for a long time. When the Syrian army chased them away, everybody was happy: the Syrian citizens because they hate the foreign rebels, and we because peace had returned.”

    Father Daniel maintains that the mainstream media continuously lied about the conflict in Syria: “Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time? They have sold pure nonsense about Assad. It was actually the rebels who plundered and killed. Do you think that the Syrian people are stupid? Do you think those people were forced to cheer for Assad and Putin? It is the Americans who have a hand in all of this, for pipelines and natural resources in this region and to thwart Putin.”

    He says Saudi Arabia and Qatar want to establish a Sunni state in Syria, without religious freedom. When the Syrian army was preparing for the battle in Aleppo, Muslim soldiers came to him, a Christian, to be blessed.

    “Between ordinary Muslims and Christians, there is no problem. It is those radical Islamic, Western-backed rebels who want to massacre us. They are all al Qaeda and ISIS. There are not any moderate fighters anymore.”

    Father Daniel told AD he was happy to see Trump elected: “Trump understands that radical Islam is a bigger threat than Russia.”

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