SYRIA: Human Rights Watch has issued a report on the rebel attack in the historic Christian village of Sadad in October that includes on-site interviews with residents and the mayor. The weeklong siege killed 46, who were mostly Christian—including one entire family aged 18 to 90 found shot and thrown into a well. The human rights group also documented rebels using Christians as human shields, forcing them to walk the street to block sniper fire.
In another ancient Christian town, Maaloula, Islamist rebels have kidnapped a group of nuns from a Greek Orthodox monastery.
The UN’s human rights chief has concluded that war crimes have been committed on both sides in the Syrian conflict, authorized “at the highest level” by President Bashar al-Assad. “The scale of viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief,” the UN official said.
WORLD’s 2013 Daniel of the Year is Syrian church leader Antoine Audo, along with the long-suffering, not-going-anywhere Christians of Syria. See also my take on ways Americans who want to can come alongside the beleaguered believers there.
NIGERIA: Muslim Fulani herdsmen have increased the unprovoked slaughter of unarmed Christians in their homes, killing more than 70 in multiple attacks at the end of November.
CAMEROON: In this neighboring country, attacks by Boko Haram militants on Nigerians who have fled there are increasing, including the previously unreported November death of a Nigerian missionary and the kidnapping of a French priest.
INDIA: In New Delhi, parliamentary elections are expected to see record turnout today, with the ruling Congress Party expecting stiff opposition from the Hindu nationalist BJP party and the newer and populist AAP.
AFGHANISTAN: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says an Afghan official other than outgoing President Hamid Karzai can sign the otherwise-stalled Bilateral Security Agreement. To which one could argue the Obama administration could have picked a time other than presidential election season with major political transition underway in Afghanistan to begin its exit.