“In Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians” (Acts 19:26).
“Syria: Antakya,once city of Saint Peter, now a door for Jihad,” from ANSA, August 17 (thanks to Insubria):
(ANSAMed) – ANTAKYA (TURKEY) – 17 AUG – Foreign fundamentalist fighters who are welcomed ‘without fuss’ to fight alongside Syrian rebels against the Assad regime, pose a threat to the country’s future democracy, according to a commander of the Free Syrian Army.
‘They constitute a real threat to our society and the western world, who hope for a democratic Syria in the future’, Ahmad Fahd al Nimah said recently in response to a growing influx of Jihadist fighters flocking to Syria via Turkey. According to reports, mujahideen fighters are making the 20 minute journey to the border of Syria from Antakya, where Saint Peter was the first Christian bishop, and celebrated mass in a cave about 2,000 years ago. A Jihadist calling himself Abdullah told ANSA that he had come to Antioch from Marseilles, to ‘God willing, fight against the murderous infidel Assad.’ He explained that thousands of other mujahideen fighters were ready to come from abroad.
And a Turkish truck driver called Zeynel who was in Libya during the uprising against Gaddafi told ANSA that he recognised many Libyan jihadists in Antakya. Rebel fighters now control the Syrian border, and Turkey, who supports the Sunni anti-Assad uprising, does little to stop fundamentalists from crossing into Syria. The goal of the Jihad fighters is ‘clear: to overthrow the Shia Alawite Assad regime and establish a Sunni Islamic based on sharia law. It is not known how many jihadist fighters there are in Syria, but their influence on the ground is clear. Many are experts in weapons, explosives, communications and guerrilla tactics, including suicide bombings. According to a BBC analyst, 53% of their attacks have been focused on Damascus and 20% on Aleppo, the dual nerve-centres of power in Syria. In short, they know where to hit the regime hardest. (ANSAmed).