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The Battle for the Orthodoxy Center of Syria: Al-Qaeda assaults Maalula (VIDEO)

The Battle for the Orthodoxy Center of Syria: Al-Qaeda assaults Maalula (VIDEO)

During the long years of war in Syria, militants killed thousands of women and children, destroyed hundreds of schools and monuments of cultural heritage.

The unlimited cruelty of terrorists has not bypassed even holy places that have existed on Syrian soil for thousands of years. Our correspondent managed to take a comment from one of the ministers of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus in the village of Maalula, Damascus Governorate.

— My name is Rita Vahba. I’m from town of Maalula. December 7, 2014, terrorists approached the town. They settled down on the mounts around the monastery and lived in Saidnaya hotel. We saw a light in monastery after three months of siege. Many men tried to leave Maalula to know what there had happened but they were captured by militants. Terrorists demanded ransoms for their release.

Later militants blew up a checkpoint near Maalula and started to shoot in different directions. On the checkpoint they killed Syrian soldiers, captured tanks and started use it as own weapons. There were militia units in town. Women and children were taken shelter in the caves. I have been living in the cave for three days. It was too difficult.

The government forces launched an offensive after the militants from Yabroud had joined the terrorists in Maalula. The liberation of town began. During the offensive, we fled to Damascus because the district was unsafe. The vault of the dome was destroyed. The western and eastern walls too. The church has preserved its appearance since 313 AD due to wooden ceilings which are more than two thousand years old.

During the liberation of town by government forces, militants destroyed the church. 26 icons were looted. One of them was found by us later. It’s icon of the Archangels Gabriel and Michael. We see consequences of disastrous vandalism — plaster in the area of their faces is knocked off. Some of the icons were burned by militants. They also desecrate and destroyed altar. Thanks to the efforts of our youth the church was gradually restored.

Our church’s altar is one of the oldest Christian altar under the sun. This small window was used by militants’ snipers. Every Sunday in 7.30 a.m. we have church service. The second altar was also damaged by militants. They destroyed its lid which is more than 200 years old.

There were two icons from Poland in monastery. It was presented by general Andres. One depicts Jesus, the second the Mother of God. We wish your prayers were directed to the return of these icons.

This painful narrative proves that there is not and cannot be a place for terrorism in our world. The victory of the Syrian army, with the support of the Russian Air Force, over illegal armed formations in the republic gives people hope for a bright future. Judging by the active integration Syrians into civilian life, it is not far off.

Al-Qaeda — terrorist orgnization banned in Russia

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По материалам: rusvesna