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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Historic Christian village seized by Syrian rebels, including al-Qaida jihadis

By Mitchell Prothero


Syrian military solider fires a heavy machine gun during clashes with rebels in Maaloula village, northeast of the capital Damascus, Syria





JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) A coalition of Syrian rebel groups that includes members of al-Qaida took control of one of the oldest Christian villages in the world on Sunday, raising concern about the potential destruction of ancient shrines and churches.

Rebel commanders vowed to protect the inhabitants of Maaloula and the village's holy sites, but there were worries that the town's many churches, monasteries and shrines from Christianity's earliest years could be damaged as the Syrian government attempts to regain control.

Maaloula is about 35 miles northeast of Damascus in the mountains along the border with Lebanon. Its residents, who still speak Aramaic, the language Jesus is thought most likely to have spoken, are loyal to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Announcements of the town's capture after five days of fighting were issued by the Nusra Front, a rebel group that has sworn allegiance to al-Qaida; another conservative Islamist rebel group, Ahrar al Sham; and the more mainstream Farouk Brigade.

Witnesses in the town told local media that the government forces withdrew from the center of the village of about 5,000 on Sunday morning but that the regime's artillery and jets had begun to target rebel positions in the center of the town.

It was not immediately clear if the rebels had occupied sensitive religious sites in the village, which has little strategic value but could become a potent symbol if its historic sites fall victim to the violence.

Commanders from the Rebellion of Baba Amr, which is part of the Farouk Brigade, one of the largest rebel formations, could be seen on social media videos announcing the victory from Maaloula's recognizable town square.

"We cleansed Maaloula from all the Assad dogs and all his thugs," said an unidentified Farouk commander to his men in one video, with the shrine to St. Takhla, one of Christianity's oldest sites, in the background.

The Nusra Front released a statement of victory on a Facebook page associated with the group and a number of videos released online by Ahrar al Sham showed that group in several locations also within the village. Both groups follow strict conservative interpretations of Islam that forbid shrines to saints, and many Christians feared they would damage the sites or harass the residents of the ardently pro-Assad town.

A statement from the Syrian Military Council, the group through which the West funnels aid to more moderate rebel groups, vowed to protect both the sites and "religious minorities" residing in the village.

"We emphasize that we are working very hard to protect all minorities and have sent army units to protect the people of Maaloula and importantly, all of the monasteries and shrines," the statement said.

But the military council doesn't command either the Nusra Front or Ahrar al Sham, and both groups have fought with military council-affiliated groups before. Nusra and Ahrar al Sham generally are considered the anti-Assad movements most effective and aggressive rebel fighters, making it unclear that the military council will be able to enforce its pledge to protect the area.


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Christians make up about 10 percent Syria's population and have generally sided with the government against the rebels, who are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims.

The Obama administration has offered military and logistical support to the military council, although there is little evidence that much help has reached it. The United States and the European Union have designated the Nusra Front a terrorist organization, and there are concerns that any aid from the West to the military council could end up in Nusra's hands, given how closely military council-affiliated rebels and Nusra coordinate their military activities.

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© 2013, McClatchy Washington Bureau. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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