Assad visits recaptured Christian town

Assad visits recaptured Christian town
Sun Apr 20, 2014 14:59:09

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Easter has visited the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, which the army troops recently recaptured from militants, state television says.

"On the day of the resurrection of Christ, and from the heart of Maaloula, President Assad hopes all Syrians have a happy Easter, and for the reestablishment of peace and security throughout Syria," the channel announced on Sunday.

It added that Assad had inspected a monastery damaged in recent fighting.

Meanwhile, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Syria said Christians in the war-ravaged country "will not submit and yield" to extremists who attack "our people and holy places."

In comments to mark Easter, Patriarch John Yazigi called on the warring militants to end the practice of "intimidation, displacement, extremism and takfiri mentality." Such radicals have become increasingly influential among armed groups, attacking Christians who they see as infidels and partly as punishment for what they consider Christians' support for President Assad.

Yazigi's message was carried by Syria's official news agency late Saturday. Christians make up about 10 percent of Syria's population.

Syria has been plagued by unrelenting militancy since March 2011. The Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

More than 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions of others displaced due to the ongoing violence.


string(1088) "[{"id":"1538286","sort":"3194237","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/11/26/alalam_635210614491908795_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria army prepared to retake Christian town of Deir Attiyeh"} ,{"id":"1574353","sort":"3194238","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/10/alalam_635300894423312935_25f_4x3.mp4","title":"Terrorists in Syria behead Christian for abandoning prayers: Video"} ,{"id":"1581749","sort":"3194239","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/04/03/alalam_635321262835411018_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria has no option but to triumph over terrorism: Assad"} ,{"id":"1584891","sort":"3194240","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/04/13/alalam_635330185727509381_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Assad calls for helping to keep Syrian identity unchanged"} ,{"id":"1585003","sort":"3194241","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/04/14/alalam_635330600438474925_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria war turning in favor of national army: Assad"} ,{"id":"1585140","sort":"3194242","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/04/14/alalam_635330819344375771_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria army recaptures Christian town of Maaloula"} ]"