"The big fear of the Christians-the majority-is if he [Assad] goes, who will come in? And that is the big, big fear"
While both sides targeted Christian churches, the Assad regime attacked these sites more effectively with better weapons, the report claimed.
According to evidence taken from several of the attacks-shrapnel, photo analysis, determination of which forces were controlling the area at the time of the attack-the regime was found to have attacked more churches despite a greater capacity to target specific facilities, and a lesser chance of accidentally hitting a church while shelling a neighborhood.
The regime also systematically justified attacks on churches by publicly saying they had become operation centers for opposition forces, Erica Hanichak of Americans for a Free Syria told reporters on Monday.
Speaking to CNA, Smara said that in his own travles to the country and contact with local Christians led him to doubt the report's conclusions.
"I doubt very much if the regime of the Assad regime is responsible for the bombing of any churches and religious sites," he said.
"I don't believe the president is that radical"
The report said that some churches suffered multiple attacks; the Church of the Lady of Peace in Homs was attacked seven times by Syrian government forces, and the Church of Saint Takla in the Damascus Suburbs was attacked four times.
The armed opposition attacked the Roman Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross in Damascus four times, as well as churches in Aleppo during fighting with the regime forces there in 2012 and 2013.
Some churches were attacked several times by multiple entities; the Armenian Church of Independence in Raqqa was attacked three times, twice by ISIS and once by Syrian regime forces. The Church of St. Samaan in the Aleppo suburbs was attacked once by Syrian regime forces, once by the al Nusra Front, and once by factions of the armed opposition.
Six of the attacks by regime forces were in response to attempts to turn churches into military installations; ISIS did that twice with churches, the report noted.
(Story continues below)
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In July, Pope Francis sent a letter to Assad, imploring him "to protect the lives of civilians and preserve the main infrastructures, such as schools, hospitals and health facilities" in the province of Idlib where the regime forces had been fighting rebel forces.
Regime forces had been blamed for the bombing of civilian targets, including markets and hospitals, and of using chemical weapons against civilian populations.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has previously drawn attention to the targeting of civilian buildings by the regime, calling it "highly unlikely" that such attacks were accidental.
Pope Francis' July 22 letter said that "what is happening" in Idlib "is inhuman and cannot be accepted."