Syrian army controls 90% of Christian town: video

Wed Sep 11, 2013 19:11:37

The Syrian army has taken control of more than 90 percent of the Christian town of Ma’loula in Rif Dimashq, al-Alam correspondent reports from the center of the town.

The Syrian army is expected to take full control of the town in the coming hours, al-Alam correspondent Hossain Mortada said on Wednesday.

Militants from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and the Qalamun Liberation Front attacked Ma'loula, which is located about 70 kilometers northeast of Damascus, last Wednesday and captured some parts of it.

Government forces and foreign-backed militants are fighting over the ancient town of Ma’loula where militants reportedly desecrated Christian areas, prompting religious figures including Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai to voice their concern for the Christians there.

The violence in Ma’loula has stoked fears among many Syrians about the situation of the Christian community in the country.

The historic town, which is on a UNESCO list of world heritage sites, is home to two of the oldest surviving monasteries in Syria: Mar Sarkis and Mar Takla. Some villagers there still speak a version of Aramaic, an ancient language believed to have been spoken by Jesus Christ (PBUH).

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.


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