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PERSONAL, UNDILUTED VIEWS FROM TOM WINNIFRITH

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Mass on December 25 in Aleppo cathedral after 5 years and yet we are still backing the wrong side in Syria

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- Tom Winnifrith

Here in Bristol we prayed for Christians around the world who were suffering for their faith and we prayed for peace in Syria. And on Christmas day I hope we all rejoiced as the cathedral of St Elijah in Aleppo held its first Christmas service in five years. What joy that must have brought to the 100,000 Christians still left in Aleppo.

The Western media reported this rather sheepishly. Because it exposes the folly and wickedness of the policies of our Government in Syria, policies that the Western media has lapped up and promoted with lies and bias throughout. Here are the facts.

Before the war President Assad supported full religious diversity. Christians in Syria were safe and allowed to pursue their faith without fear. That is not the case in barbarous regimes elsewhere in the Middle East but they are our allies and Assad was and is wicked and evil, or so we were told.

In Aleppo the Cathedral was on the front line between the 1.5 million folks living in West Aleppo run by President Assad and the 250,000 living in a rebel enclave, East Aleppo. Those in the East were, according to David Cameron, "moderates" and we in the est supported them with arms and money. Our press reported daily on how they were under attack. It never reported on how rockets, fired at no particular target, landed on a daily basis on West Aleppo.

Our media did not report on how the "moderates" threw folks from the top of tall buildings for being postmen under the Assad regime or how they beheaded, in publi,c 12 year old boys they thought were spies or how they made worshipping Jesus a crime punishable by death.

And thus while about 60% of the Christians of Aleppo fled the town altogether, 40% stayed and it will come as no suprise that they all fled to the West to live under evil President Assad not Dave Cameron's friends "the moderates".

But St Elijah was quiet on Christmas Day for it was either under the control of "the moderates" for whom the worship oif Christ was punishable by death or, in more recent years, on the front line and a place that would be bombarded with rockets by the "moderates" should Christians gather to celebrate Christmas. It had already been shelled heavily.

But this year, in 2016. President Assad, the Russians and Iranians have pushed the "moderates," who you and I would recognise as Al-Qaeda backing extremist Islamofacists, out of Aleppo and after five years Christians can return to their heavily damaged cathedral, a siite where Christ has been worshipped for 500 years,  and celebrate the birth of the Lord. I rejoice in that as I am sure we all do.

But can we now perhaps recognise that the "moderates" that our political and media elites insisted we back were evil men? We have , as I have noted many times here, been backing the wrong side. Russia has been backing the right side It is our policies that have prolonged the conflict in Syria, that have created the refugee crisis, that have banned Christmas for so many.

Our leaders and the press have blood on their hands and one hopes that Christmas at St Elijah's will force them to acknowledge this and to show some contrition. Perhaps we can start with Secretary of State Clinton, President Obama and Call Me Dave...over to you guys. Oh I forgot, call me Dave just flew first class to the West Indies for a Godless Christmas in the sun, he really cannot be thinking of the Christians in Syria, who he has so utterly betrayed, as he must have so much else on his mind.

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