DAMASCUS – President of Syria Bashar Al-Assad announced yesterday that he will build a replica of Hagia Sophia, showing his firm opposition to Turkey’s latest decision on converting the Greek Orthodox Cathedral into a mosque. Russia pledges to assist Syria in the construction of the church replica.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has reiterated that, unlike Islamist Turkey, secular Syria desires a peaceful and positive interfaith dialogue. The country is home to a sizeable Christian population, which stood well over 10% of Syria’s population in prewar years, although that number is most likely considerably smaller now, as many Christians fled the country, especially from areas under Turkish and US occupation.
Turkey, on the other hand, is infamous for committing at least three Genocides at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Armenian, Greek (including the Pontic) and Assyrian Genocides were no less cruel than the WW2-era Holocaust, which many think served as an inspiration for Nazi Germany’s genocidal policies.
Centuries prior to these atrocities, Turkey was committing hideous crimes against the native Christian population in Asia Minor and the Balkans, forcibly converting, murdering, plundering and enslaving millions while destroying and converting the magnificent Christian Byzantine legacy across the region.
Syria is greatly agitated by Turkey’s military aggression on its territory. Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria destroyed numerous multiethnic and multireligious communities in northern Syria, which already suffered greatly due to years under ISIS and pro-Turkish Islamic terrorist occupation.
Russia has also been outspoken against Turkey’s conversion of Hagia Sophia and also supports President Assad and the legitimate Syrian government. This announcement creates an opportunity to show to the world that Syria’s secular, multiethnic, multireligious society has no alternative, and especially not in the form of Turkish or other NATO-backed Islamic terrorist groups still occupying parts of the country.