Christians in Syria say they are coming under increasing pressure to choose sides in the 18-month-old civil war that has engulfed their country, The Washington Times reported Monday, October 1. Many Christians, who constitute about 10 percent of Syria’s 22 million people, were outraged by the regime’s brutal response to what began last year as peaceful calls for reform. Yet they have been reluctant to speak out, acutely aware of their relative security under the authoritarian but secular Assad regime. Now they fear being marginalized or even targeted as have Christian communities in Egypt in the wake of that country’s revolution last year. The Assad regime’s consistent portrayal of the opposition as terrorists set on turning Syria into an Islamist state, where minority ethnic and religious groups would face persecution or exodus, encourages such fears.