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August 6 2012

SYRIA - Peace Agreement in Qalamoun on the line drawn by opponents in Rome

Christian villages are in the same line and join the appeal issued in Sant'Egidio

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Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - New success of "Mussalaha" (Reconciliation) initiative, which is working to demonstrate that a "third way" is possible, that of the civil society, alternative to war and weapons.
According what local sources told Fides, on July 30 was signed an "historic agreement between the forces of opposition of Qalamoun and the representatives of Mussalaha of Yabroud, Qara, Nebek and Deir Atieh and surroundings." The Qalamoun region is an area of plateaus located between Damascus and Homs, which includes the villages of Christians Maaloula (where he continues to speak Aramaic, the vernacular language of Jesus) and Saydnaya (where is located the Shrine of the Mother of God) in addition to the ancient monasteries of Santa Tecla, Mar Touma, Mar Moussa  and Mar Yacoub. The population is predominantly Sunni, but there is also a strong Christian presence that is respected thanks to a pact of the time of Saladin.
For months, several villages in the region, had proclaimed "independent" and had paralyzed state institutions (municipalities, police stations, courts) and civil life (with widespread and permanent strikes). This phase of civil disobedience was accompanied by an armed insurrection by militiamen who attacked army positions, but also some civilians deemed close to the government or too conciliatory with the regime. The militiamen have been joined by criminal gangs who took advantage of the disorder and lack of security to kidnap people for ransom and to make robberies against factories, warehouses, shops.
The agreement joins the Rome Declaration of opposition groups convened by the Community of Sant'Egidio (see Fides 07/27/2012). Under this agreement the opposition waives to the military option, and, therefore, forbids its members to attack  military and security government forces, and civilians. It puts down his arms and relies security in the hands of the state. For its part the government continues to give civilians the freedom to express themselves democratically through demonstrations and sit-ins.
Thanks to the agreement, sources of Fides report, the political prisoners who have committed no violent crimes have been freed and abducted persons for political reasons or for ransom have been released from prison. "The Sunni families divided between loyalists and opponents besides among opponents of different factions find themselves united by this agreement that once again demonstrates the persuasive power of civil society which rebuilds from the tribal and clan chiefs, accompanied by the religious authorities, a social pact that can not be complete until the noise of arms goes out all over Syria", concludes the source of Fides. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 07/31/2012)

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