» 06/07/2013 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.
(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
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.)