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    » 06/07/2013, 00.00

    SYRIA - LEBANON

    Al-Qusair churches show the signs of the war against Assad and of the religious hatred of the rebels



    After a year of siege, only some 500 residents are left in town, with most houses now a pile of rubble. Its 3,000 Christian residents are gone, centuries of coexistence in ruin, with the St Elijah monastery desecrated by Islamist militias.

    Beirut (AsiaNews) - The battle between rebels and army for al-Qusair left the town in ruin, now reduced to a pile of rubble. Of the 30,000 residents, including some 3,000 Christians, who lived there before the start of the Civil War, only 500 are left. Images broadcast by the BBC show deserted streets, most residential and public buildings destroyed by mortar fire, or turned into weapons depots by anti-Assad militias, who occupied the town for over a year.

    The siege did not spare mosques and churches that for centuries stood side by side, an example of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians.

    Several Orthodox and Catholics Christian buildings were desecrated by Islamist rebels, as several witnesses testified, including the BBC's Lyse Doucet, the first foreign journalist to enter in Al-Qusair.

    In a report, the British correspondent describes the state of neglect of the Greek Catholic sanctuary of St Elijah, symbol of the local Christian community. In recent months, the rebels vented their rage at the building, riddled with artillery shells.

    On the floor, dozens of religious objects lay, scattered. On the walls, a few icons and statues are still hanging, but most of them are defaced and slashed, a sign of wanton, not accidental destruction.

    Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr Simon Faddoul, president of Caritas Lebanon, said that for over a year there were no news about the Christian community of Al-Qusair.

    "Most of them," he said, "fled when the city fell into the hands of the rebels in 2012. Unlike Muslims, many Christians have crossed the border with Lebanon. Most of the families however preferred to seek refuge in other cities or villages. " (S.C.)

    Monastero Greco-Ortodosso di S. Elia  

    Monastero S. Elia - Interno

    Monastero S. Elia - Altare

    Monastero S. Elia - altarino profanato

    Monastero S. Elia - Messale profanato  

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    See also

    12/06/2013 SYRIA
    United for reconciliation with Muslims, Christians return to al-Qusair
    For months, the town's 3,000 Christians lived in neighbouring villages. The first families arrived in the city shortly after the ouster of Islamic extremists by the regime. Muslims themselves accuse the rebels of stirring sectarian hatred in Syria. Along with the shrine of St Elijah, the local mosque was destroyed as well.

    17/06/2013 SYRIA
    Massacres by Islamic extremists bolster Bashar al-Assad
    Ignored for months by Western media, massacres by Islamist brigades have appeared on pro-rebel media with reports on summary executions, Islamic courts and the mass killing of Shias, justified in the name of the hatred against Assad. However, in al Qusair and Aleppo, residents have welcomed the return of the regular army.

    28/03/2013 SYRIA - LEBANON
    "Weariness and resignation" among the civilians in war-torn Aleppo
    A Syrian Christian doctor talks about the situation in the northern Syrian city. Divided between loyalists and rebels, battered by gunfire, shelling and air strikes, the city has seen a rise in poverty and crime, especially kidnappings for ransom. A "fragile" Christian minority suffers along with Muslims.

    05/10/2015 SYRIA
    For the bishop of Aleppo, the destruction in Palmyra is a warning from the Islamic State to the West
    Militants blew up the monumental arch dating back to the Roman era. For Mgr Audo, this is a show of force against the United States and Europe. The West is deaf to the suffering population. The situation is getting worse. Peace and a political solution are needed.

    02/01/2014 LEBANON - SYRIA
    For Beirut Archbishop, Maaloula is sign of the crisis of Arab civilisation
    The nuns' abduction shows a "loss of all spiritual sensitivity by the kidnappers, who have no sense of the values ​​professed by their religion." As the conflict widens, we should be afraid that a whole generation will grow up, no longer believing in anything but money, weapons, force and domination.



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