BEIRUT – Rebels have threated to storm two predominantly Christian towns in central Syria, saying regime forces are using them to attack nearby areas.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Saturday that the rebels issued an ultimatum to the towns of Mahrada and Sqailbiyeh in the province of Hama.
A video released by rebels showed Rashid Abul-Fidaa, the Hama commander of the Ansar Brigade, calling on residents to "evict Assad's gangs" or be attacked. He was referring to President Bashar Assad's forces in the area.
Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Syria's population, say they are particularly vulnerable to the violence sweeping the country of 22 million people.
They are fearful that Syria will become another Iraq, with Christians caught in the crossfire between rival Islamic groups.