Syrian Rebels kill nine Christians including two women

A resident in the area told the Associated Press that the gunmen randomly opened fire on a street as Christians were celebrating a feast day.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that nine of those killed were Christians. It said rebels attacked checkpoints manned by the pro-government National Defence Forces militia, killing five of them. It said the other six were civilians, including two women.

Christians, who make up about 10% of Syria’s population, are particularly vulnerable to the violence sweeping the country of 22 million people. Many rebels, who are mostly Sunnis, consider Christians to be supporters of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Tens of thousands of Christians have left central districts in Syria’s third largest city because of the fighting.

Attacks against Christians have not been uncommon in Syria since the country’s crisis began more than two years ago. Two bishops were abducted in rebel-held areas in April and an Italian Jesuit priest, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, went missing last month while on a trip to the rebel-held northeastern city of Raqqa.


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