Syrian Christian leaders: Assad is our protector

Soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in southern DamascusReuters

New pictures and interviews from inside Damascus show widespread support for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. An exclusive for the Daily Mail shows pictures of people shopping, playing sport and drinking tea - with no sign of the country's viscious civil war.

But it's the interview with Luka al Khouri, the Deputy Patriarch at the Church of Antioch, which reveals just how supportive many of Syria's Christians are of the Assad regime. The Bishop speaks out in support of Assad and criticises those who aspire for democracy in Syria. "The concept of an ethnic minority is a Western one," he says. "Under Assad, we in Syria are Syrian. We are all 100 per cent Sunni, 100 per cent Christian, 100 per cent Druze and 100 per cent Allawite. We stand united as Syrians."

Despite the many allegations of torture, bombing of civilians and more from the Assad government, Christians and other minorities often reman in support, because of the relative safety offered against the threat of ISIS and other rebels.

"This a war between the Syrian people and foreign terrorists," said Khouri.

Another anonymous Christian leader said, "'If Assad falls, they will not just massacre us, they will also kill all moderate Muslims. For 40 years Syria has had no problems between the different religions and sects. Every Syrian Christian will fight the invaders who are sponsored by the Gulf and the West [ISIS]."

Since Russia began an intesive bombing campaign to support the Syrian Army, the war has been turning in Assad's favour. This latest evidence seems to show strong support for him in Damascus as his forces slowly advance elsewhere.