British journalist briefs Armenian community in LA on latest developments in Syria

Lusine Avanesyan
Public Radio of Armenia
Los Angeles

Journalist Robert Fisk says was shocked by the condition of the Christian church in the Syrian city of Yabroud, which has been razed to the ground. Fisk, who has long been working as The Independent’s correspondent in the Middle East, told about his impressions from the visit to Syria at a meeting with representatives of the Armenian community in Los Angeles. He said the Greek Church in Yabroud had been completely destroyed.

Robert Fisk has taken an example of a burnt New Testament as a proof of the vandalism taking place in Syria today. He met a woman, who spent three years under the Islamist rule in Yabroud. She told Christians had to by food twice as expensive because of their belief.

“Will it ever be possible to eliminate the huge gap between the Christian and Muslim communities? Perhaps never,” Fisk said.

While in Syria, Fisk met with an Armenian clergyman, who told that about 25-30 thousand Syrian Armenians had fled the country and he does not believe they will ever return. “This is the case with other Christian communities, as well, and this is the greatest tragedy. As a witness of all this, I cannot imagine how this can be prevented,” Fisk said.

According to the journalist, the dividing lines among the Syrian population are the major problem. He said the western journalists even have maps  distinguishing the Shia, Sunni and Christian districts. These maps and dividing lines exist in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, he said, adding that this is the major problem in the Middle East.

Robert Fisk noted that once a rich city, Yabroud is now in ruins. Although it has been liberated by the Syrian army, it is destroyed and unrecognizable today, like the rest of Syria.

Robert Fisk, an English writer and journalist, has been Middle East correspondent of The Independent for more than twenty years, primarily based in Beirut. Fisk holds more British and international journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent. He has also been voted International Journalist of the Year seven times. He has published a number of books and reported on several wars and armed conflicts.

He is one of a few Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden, which he did on three occasions between 1993 and 1997.

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