Until very recently, the policies of a number of Western states have practically done nothing to put an end to the genocide of Christians in Syria.
It was clear from the onset of the conflict that the fall of the regime of Bashar al-Assad would have inevitably resulted in the complete extermination of Christian and Alawite communities, as disparate groups of the so-called “moderate opposition” were in no position to create a strong government to protect religious minorities.
Western leaders were fully aware of the fact that if their demand about Assad stepping down was fulfilled, this would trigger a new wave of genocide against Christians.
And they were quite willing to see it through and witness the carnage firsthand.
The fact that the problem of Christians was of little concern to Washington is evidenced by the reports published in the American media.
Those demonstrate the reluctance of the United States to let Christian refugees in.
Thus, according to the annual report of the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration that was issued in 2015, 97% of all Syrian refugees allowed to enter the US were Muslims, while only 53 Syrian refugees who professed Christianity were allowed to cross the border.
Mind you, by that year a third of the entire Syrian Christian population had already left the country.
The war in Syria has led to a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.
According to UNHCR, nearly half a million people have perished, and more than a half of the entire population – some 12 million people was forcefully misplaced.
The better part of those people have taken refuge in neighboring countries-Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
About a million people tried to reach Europe, starting the largest exodus since the Second World War! A whole generation of children was born in exile.
Therefore, it is not surprising that one of the principal goals of Russia’s military support to Syria was the liberation from radical Islamists of the territories that were traditionally occupied by Christian communities.
Due to the active steps undertaken by the Russian military attempts at perpetuating genocide against Christians were brought to a screeching halt.
Moreover, conditions were created for refugees to return home and considerable support was provided to enable restoration of peace that Christian communities used to enjoy in Syria.
It was Russia that played a key role in preventing new acts of genocide against the Christian population of northeastern Syria.
Since the very first day of the Syrian conflict, Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church have consistently called on the international community to consolidate its efforts in a bid to provide assistance to the people of Syria.
When it became obvious that one of the most important tasks on the way to peaceful life was the restoration of the destroyed infrastructure, the Russian Orthodox Church managed to rally both Christians and Muslims all across Russia to facilitate this goal.
Thus in August 2013, it sent 1,320,407 dollars to the Patriarch of Antioch that were collected with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill across the churches of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In 2017, on the basis of the Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations under the President of Russia, an Inter-religious working group was established to provide humanitarian assistance to the population of Syria, where both Christian and Muslim communities of Russia were represented.
With the assistance of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties delivered humanitarian aid to Christian settlements in the Homs governorate, and at the request of the Antiochian Orthodox Church – to Christian villages in the governorates of Hama and Idlib.
With the participation of Russian specialists the monastery of Holy Thecla was brought back to peaceful life in the governorate of Damascus.
In a short period of time, the working group has successfully concluded a number of other humanitarian projects.
The significant role that Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church played in the protection of Christians in Syria is admitted by a number of prominent Western media sources, including The Washington Post.
Reverend Franklin Graham, an influential figure in the West and a son of the popular American preacher Billy Graham, would repeatedly stress the role that Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church played in saving Christians in Syria in his interviews.
However, Moscow would carry on taking consistent diplomatic steps to protect the interests of Christian communities in other parts of the world.
In particular, in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, that is controlled by Azerbaijan these days.
With the active participation of the Russian Orthodox Church, efforts are being made to draw the attention of the international community to the problems of Christian communities in Africa.
Today, it can be safely stated that the painstaking efforts that were undertaken to preserve Syria as one of the founding stones of the Muslim world were not in vain, although initially this country was, as you already know, the cradle of Christian civilization.
And Russia played a major role in saving this example of interreligious harmony from disintegration and subsequent self-destruction, which would trigger similar processes in a number of other states across the Middle East.