Armed men from the Faruq Brigade have succeeded in expelling most of the Christians of Homs and have seized their homes by force.
Al-Haqiqa has learned from church sources in Homs that the city has been emptied of almost 90% of its Christians. It is expected that a complete "cleansing" of buildings owned by Christians will occur within a matter of days or weeks by armed men from the Wahhabi "Faruq Brigade." A source in the Orthodox metropolitan's office told al-Haqiqa that armed men from the Faruq Brigade went to the homes of the Christians, house by house, in the neighborhoods of Hamidiya and Bustan el-Diwan, informing them that they must immediately leave their homes and the city of Homs. The source revealed that the lastest attempt to expel Christians by force of arms occured yesterday. It included Dr. Taleb Mashhour Gharibeh, professor of mathematics at Baath University in Homs, his brother the musician Marwan Mashhour Gharibeh (a musician in Sabah Fakhri's group), both of whom live in the Hamidiya neighborhood, their sister Marie Mashhour Gharibeh, who lives in the Bustan el-Diwan neighborhood, as well as their father and his wife the schoolteacher Maha Habou, who live in the new neighborhood el-Wa'ar. This wave of expulsions also included the residents of a six-story building in Hamidiya, whose residents include eighteen families, almost all of whom are from the village Uyoun el-Wadi.
The church sources said that the armed men informed the owners of the homes before they departed that if they did not leave immediately they would be shot and pictures of their corpses would be sent to al-Jazeera with the message that the government had killed them. The source emphasized that all those who were expelled "were not allowed to take any of their possessions with them, not even extra clothes. Immediately after they left their homes, the buildings were occupied by armed men who considered it 'war-booty from the Christians!'"
It should be noted that the Faruq Brigade is operated by armed elements from al-Qaeda and various Wahhabi groups and it includes mercenaries from Libya and Iraq. Last month they destroyed two churches with rocket fire, burning one and severely damaging the other.