Syria’s Christians, who make up more than 6 percent of the population, are fearful they will be caught up in the 10-month power struggle between the Alawite-dominated government of President Bashar al-Assad and the largely Sunni opposition movement.

In an exclusive interview with dpa, Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III, head of the Syriac Catholic Church, which is in full communion with Rome, accused Western governments of sacrificing the rights of minorities in the Middle East in pursuing their geostrategic and economic interests.

dpa: In recent months there have been talks between Syrian churches on the position Christians should take in the conflict between al-Assad and the protest movement. What is the current position here?

Ignatius Joseph III: We Christians of the Middle East are disappointed at the policies pursued by the European Union and the United States, because we note that the Europeans and the Americans regard the problems of the Middle East solely from a political and economic viewpoint.

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