Seeing Islamists rise to power in the wake of Arab Spring revolutions throughout the Middle East and Africa, the Christians in Syria have chosen to back their beleaguered president, Bashar al-Assad. For them, Assad's despotic rule may be preferable to the potential persecution in an Islamist takeover.
Playing on their fears, Germany's Der Spiegel reports, Assad was quick to secure the support of Syria's 2.5 million Christians, calling their leaders to the presidential palace in Damascus only days after the anti-government protests began in March. He reportedly warned them that their fate would be uncertain should he no longer be there to protect the rights of religious minorities.
Assad has always permitted Christians to practice their faith in peace and has protected their churches. He also considered Christians for senior positions within important government institutions that are not assigned to those within Assad's own Alawi group.
Syrian Christians seem to be aware of what they stand to lose if Assad falls, especially after seeing how Islamists targeted Coptic Christians and their property in Egypt after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
"President Assad is a very cultured man," Gregorios Elias Tabé, 70, the Syrian Catholic archbishop of Damascus, told Der Spiegel. "We're a nation of 23 million and no law can ever satisfy everyone. That's true in every country -- there are always 10 percent who are sacrificed."
In further defense of Assad's regime, Tabé has called the media liars and the Syrian protesters terrorists.
Christian villages have also refrained from participating in the protests and have remained largely silent or outwardly supportive of Assad's regime.
Outside these villages, thousands of opposition members are still taking to the streets calling for Assad's removal, even though Assad's regime has killed more than 3,500 people trying to quell the protests and has allegedly engaged in torture, executions of unarmed civilians, and mass executions of army deserters.
A few hundred Christians are among the remaining protesters. They are mostly students who are getting support from Christian opposition groups in exile in countries like the United States and Britain. These Christians have partnered with the Syrian National Council, the most prominent opposition group, and are hoping to pressure the West into a military intervention.