Syrian Christians ask for Russian citizenship

Community suspicious of Western intentions

Syria – Some 50,000 Christians have appealed to Russia to grant them dual citizenship, the Russian Foreign Ministry has announced. According to the applicants, the move has been prompted by a deep mistrust of the motives of the West, which stands accused of backing Islamists in the conflict against Bashar al Assad. The ministry published a letter which it claims was sent on behalf of numerous Christian villages in Syria laying out the reasons for their appeal.

“For the first time since the Nativity of Christ we Christians of Qalamoun living in the villages of Saidnaya, Maara Saidnaya, Maaloula and Maaroun are under threat of banishment from our land. We prefer death to exile and life in refugee camps, and so we will defend our land, honour and faith, and will not leave the land on which Christ walked,” the letter states

“The Christians of Qalamoun believe that the purpose of the Western-backed terrorists is to eliminate our presence in what is our native land, and with some of the most revolting methods as well, including savage murders of ordinary people.

“We see the Russian Federation as a powerful factor of global peace and stability. Russia pursues a firm line in the defence of Syria, its people and its territorial integrity.”

The ministry did not reveal its plans in relation to the appeal.