A Syrian woman recently shared the heartwrenching story of the death of her 18-year-old son, who was shot and killed by ISIS-aligned militants after he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
Alice Assaf of Adra al-Ummaliya near Damascus told her story to Dr. Yvette Elbayadi Isaac of the American human rights group Roads of Success, which posted the interview online.
Over two years ago, Assaf was informed by a neighbor that the militants had entered the city and were killing Christians. She sought a way of escape, but never felt safe enough to do so, since “passersby were systematically killed.”
Assaf and her children took refuge at a neighbor’s house, where they began hearing of the atrocities that were being committed in the city.
“We heard that the militants grabbed six strong men working at the bakery and burned them alive in the oven,” she recalled. “After that, they caught some 250 kids and kneaded them like dough in the bakery dough machine.”
She said that the oldest child was four years old.
“Two days later, when the Islamic militants got the news that the army will invade the area, they started to throw the children out of balconies as a warning to the army,” Assaf explained.
Isaac asked who the attack was against—whether Christians or all residents, and Assaf said that it began as an assault on Christians, but members of the military also soon became a target.
“Two soldiers got into our house and I told my son that we may be killed because of the soldier hiding in our home,” she recalled. “My son answered, ‘I prefer to die than to run away.'”
When neighbors advised her son to pretend to be a Muslim and use an Islamic name to save his life, he refused.
“[M]y son said to me, ‘No mother, I don’t want to die with an identity not my own,” Assaf explained.
She asked her son to at least hide from ISIS, but he replied, “I don’t want to hide myself. You are the one who taught me to follow what Christ said, ‘Whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny before My Father who is in Heaven.'”
“I was amazed by his words and said to myself, ‘We truly trust God,” Assaf remembered.
Her son was soon taken into custody by the militants after they were informed that soldiers had been hiding in the house. They told him that he would not lose his life if he became a Muslim.
“[B]ut he said to them, ‘I would never abandon my religion,’ Assaf said. “So they started to beat him in the guest room [with a gun].”
Minutes later, they took Assaf’s son outside and shot him to death.
“Did they kill him because his name was George?” Isaac asked.
“Yes, because his name was George,” Assaf replied.
“Was that because he was Christian?” Isaac inquired.
“Yes,” Assaf said. “… I console myself with the fact that he died a true Christian.”
“Of course, he is alive in Heaven,” Isaac responded. “Your son is alive in Heaven with saints and with martyrs.”
Assaf says that her greatest pain is that she does not know where her son is buried as the army used mass graves since there were so many dead.