(Damascus) Islamist rebels have launched an offensive north of Damascus to Deir Atieh. In the city with a population of 25,000 there is a strong Christian minority. On 22 November the attack began with two suicide bombings. With the second attack wave, the hospital was taken and the patients and staff were taken hostage. The Islamists took time to destroy a museum with thousands of archaeological finds.
Christians in Prison
The Greek Orthodox Church is concerned about the fate of Christians in Deir Atieh. The churches of the city were targeted by the Islamists. The same applies to Alawi mosques. Civilians have been abused by Islamists in the street fighting being used as human shields. The attacks seem to be made according to a certain scheme. Conquest of the hospital, destruction of Christian and Alawite places of worship and hostage-taking. Also, in Deir Atieh the Christians of the city, which the Islamists were getting hold of, were prevented from escaping the city and held hostage. A Greek Orthodox priest succeeded in fleeing under adventurous circumstances, so that he could report on the situation in Deir Atieh.
The Islamist attack on Deir Atieh is part of a larger offensive against the Qalamun Mountains after the Syrian army managed to retake the strategically important town of Qara. There is the city Sadnaya with several monasteries dating back to the first millennium AD. The rebels tried to take the monastery Cherubim, which is located at the highest elevation in Saidnaya. The monastery at about 2000 meters above sea level dates back to its origin from the Byzantine period. Above the monastery a 39 meter high statue of Jesus Christ was consecrated and erected on October 14th. In order to deliver the statue, the Christians had reached a truce of three days between the army and rebels. Meanwhile, the Islamists seem to have, however, changed opinion. The monastery is no longer considered a combat-free zone for them.
With the battle cry of Allahu Akbar, Islamists stormed the monastery, which was guarded by a small unit of the Syrian army with a tank. They were able to fend off the attack. "Currently, the location is quiet. We were attacked for two days. The rebels continued here also include snipers. The attack was repulsed, "said one soldier.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Friday, February 22, 2013
(Damascus) A Syrian Christian of the Armenian Church was put to death by Islamists on the road to Aleppo. As the news agency Fides reported while Christians were traveling on a bus towards Aleppo, the bus was stopped by armed Islamists, who had set up a roadblock. The Islamists were scanning the bus, to relieve the passengers relieved of possessions and looking for potential victims of kidnappings for ransom. On the 9th of February two priests were kidnapped in this way. The Armenian Catholic priest Michel Kayyal and the Greek Orthodox priest Maher Mahfouz. Both are still in the hands of Islamist gangs.
As the Islamists in the bus investigated the travelers, they also encountered a Syrian Christians Yohannes an Armenian, who wore a cross on a necklace. They dragged him out of the bus and shot him at close range. For safety reasons, as Fides reports, they omitted the messenger service on the publication of his full name in order to protect the family of the victim. As the Armenian Church announced, he is a "martyr", because the Christian was killed in "odium fidei", out of hatred for the Christian faith.
Just recently, a group of Christians to reach Beirut to escape the perilous situation in Syria. Their bus was hit by a rocket in flight. Two Christians, Boutros and his 22 year old fiancée Naraya, who wanted to get married soon, were killed. Islamists then stole everything they could steal in this bus brutally brought to a halt.
The Christian churches in Syria have decided not to pay a ransom for kidnapped Christians. A decision that was made after much consideration, as Fides reported, because Christians do not want to be prisoners of a lucrative Islamist kidnapping industry. If they were to pay, it would just such but inflame.
Instead, call the churches to the international community to take action against the inhumane practice of kidnapping in Syria. The Christians of Syria urge all Christians to support through prayer and spiritual sacrifices. Fides reported that the church tours in Syria, it is agreed that the rescue of the hostages, including the two priests, is to lead a spiritual battle and not as fundraising to collect money for ransom payments.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Link to katholisches...