Despite the minorities intimidation of the so-called “terrorists” and the promotion for a chasm in the Syrian social fabric, the commercial and social relations between the Christian city of Al-Suqaylabiyah and its sister town of Qalaat al-Madiq continue to exist.
The city of al-Suqaylabiyah is located in the western countryside of rural Hama with a Christian majority; the city is under the Syrian regime, which turned it to one of its most important strongholds. From this city, the regime shells the areas under the opposition in an attempt to provoke its factions and to lead them to shell the city back. To Enab Baladi, Walid Hassani, a military leader in “Jaysh al-Nasr,” said that the regime is doing so to impose a certain image on the factions, an image based on “terrorism and sectarianism.”
Hassani assured that, by virtue of their immediate geographic proximity areas in al-Ghab plain are known for the strong bond that connects them challenging, thus, the religious issues, which the Syrian regime has been exploiting since the break out of the revolution to lure minorities and to convince them of defending its regime and that its existence is their source of protection.
A similar bond joins the city of al-Suqaylabiyah with the town of Qalaat al-Madiq, according to Hassani, who confirmed the continuity of their commercial relations, especially in the domains of food materials, vegetables and fruits and that al- Suqaylabiyah merchants enter Qalaat al-Madiq protected by the factions, for indications about suspicious relationships with the regime do not exist. In addition to this, a number of clinics and shops, run by Christian people are present in the town to the day.
“Abu Yazan,” a media activist from the town of Qalaat al-Madiq confirmed that commercial and social relations connect the two areas. For commercial reasons, 60 people from al-Suqaylabiyah enter the town daily without being harassed, even though the regime resorts to entice the two areas through shelling, a thing which most of the people there understand.
He pointed out that a number of people from the city of al-Suqaylabiyah have joined the revolution and the opposition factions and are currently living in the city with their families and children without discrimination.
Christian People in Opposition-Held Areas
To Enab Baladi, Abu Daniel, a Christian man from the city of al-Suqaylabiyah who lives in the opposition-held area, said that he used to join the peaceful demonstrations which led the regime’s intelligence to prosecute him. He, accordingly, has been living in the opposition area for six years now.
Abu Daniel works in a money exchange office. There, he managed to win the respect of all factions’ leaders and civilians, stressing the fact that for the long past six years, he never suffered sectarianism in contrast to what has been promoted among Christians to scare them of the military factions.
Abu Daniel said: “Syria is for all the Syrians who believe in coexistence, the need to revive the social relations that existed prior to the revolution and refuse sectarian thought, after the regime’s checkpoints have separated the people of the same nation. Al-Madiq and Al-Suqaylabiyah stand as a living witness, for eight kilometers only separate them from each other while over six of the Assad’s forces’ checkpoints spread throughout the road between them.”