Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/14/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Syrian Army holds the town now, most inhabitants have fled.

A Christian town where residents still peak Aramaic, the native language of Jesus Christ, remains an active example of the struggle Christians face as forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad clash with Islamist rebel fighters linked to al Qaeda.

Built against the side of a mountain, Maaloula is an ancient Christian enclave where the inhabitants still speak Aramaic, the language of Christ.

Built against the side of a mountain, Maaloula is an ancient Christian enclave where the inhabitants still speak Aramaic, the language of Christ.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/14/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Maaoula, Syria, civil war, al Nursa, al Qaeda, terrorists, rebels, Christians


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Catholic Online is being informed that as of Friday, the village of Maaloula remains in the hands of the Syrian Army, but that rebel fighters, linked to the al-Nursa Front, continue to cling tenaciously to positions on the edges of the village.

Maaloula is a Christian enclave just 34 miles north of Damascus. It has been a Christian town for two millennia and is one of the first centers of Christendom. Residents there still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ. The town has enjoyed a long peace with Christians and Muslims living in harmony.

As a result of its significance and long history, it has become the home of many shrines including churches, caves, and other sites regarded as holy to both Christians and Muslims.

Following the outbreak of civil war, Christians struggled to remain neutral. Sensitive to their precarious plight as both the Assad regime and al Qaeda-linked fighters in the rebel army became increasingly ruthless, the Free Syrian Army pledged to keep fighting away from the ancient community. That pledge has been broken by the fighters from the al-Nursa Front, which is a major rebel contingent of al-Qaeda-linked jihadists.

The jihadist attack began last week with a suicide bombing followed by a full-scale rebel assault. Most residents fled or joined a hastily-formed pro-government militia. The Syrian Army then counterattacked, aiding the Christian militia fighting to defend their homes and churches from the jihadists.

Locals accused the jihadists of desecrating Christian churches and shrines, but other sources confirm that statues and Church buildings remain intact. It is likely that all involved in the conflict understand the political significance of the community. It is thought that al-Nursa is respecting, to a degree, Christian shrines because of the PR value of doing so.

On Tuesday, the Free Syrian Army said it would retreat from the town of Maaloula on the condition that the Syrian Army did not move to occupy it. However, the Syrian Army does now occupy the majority of the town and the rebels are now fighting to retake it.

While the high command of the Free Syrian Army is a political entity, and has sympathy for the Christian inhabitants, the jihadists do not likely have much intention of sparing the Christians over the long-term. Already they have been implicated in the destruction of other Christian churches, shrines, and the kidnapping and martyrdom of several clerics.

In other communities, jihadist rebels have reportedly forced Christians to convert to Islam or face extermination.

According to local sources, most of the town's 3,300 or so inhabitants have fled and very few still reside in their homes.

It is likely that if the rebels win, the al-Nursa brigade will enforce their own brand of evangelism on the populace as soon as world attention is diverted elsewhere. If not the al-Nursa fighters, then other Sunni jihadists will probably replace them and do what they have already done elsewhere.

The conflict in Syria isn't just about the people versus their government. It is about evil clashing with evil and good being caught in between. Meanwhile, the entire world stands paralyzed, unwilling to do anything substantial to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

There are hopes that the current effort to avert American military intervention will also promote a cease-fire and talks between the two sides. However, it should be recognized that the jihadist fighters, the same ones who threaten on the outskirts of Maaloula, have no interest in peace. Their goal is to spread their own brand of Islam by all means necessary.

Until the world recognizes that both secular dictatorships and militant, religious terror organizations are threats of equal value that should be addressed with great vehemence, the crisis in Syria will deepen, mush to the detriment of Christians and other innocents who inhabit the troubled regions of the world.

Click here to learn about our 'Saint Michael the Archangel' conference this Nov 1-3!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Middle East

70-year-old Christian woman stripped and beaten by Muslim mob Watch

Image of The mob attacked the mother of a man who was rumored to have had an affair (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A mob of roughly 300 Muslim men attacked a 70-year-old Christian woman in the Egyptian village of Al-Karm and broke out into religiously motivated acts of violence, including the burning of seven Christian family homes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rumors spread ... continue reading


New Taliban leader to refuse peace talks and continue terrorizing reign Watch

Image of New Taliban leader as ruthless as the last (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the death of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansour by U.S. drone strike - but another leader has risen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Days after burying Mansour in an undisclosed location in ... continue reading


Why YOU should care about the anti-American elected to lead Iran's most powerful religious body Watch

Image of Ahmed Jannati has been elected to lead Iran's Assembly of Experts (Iran Human Rights Organization).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After a Tuesday vote, Iran's Assembly of Experts elected 89-year-old Ahmed Jannati as its next supreme leader.Jannati is famous for his extremely conservative views of Islam and is now in a position to choose Iran's next Supreme Leader. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


ISIS leaders punished with NEW EXECUTION METHOD using DOGS Watch

Image of ISIS leaders who fail their duties are now sentenced to death by dogs (HWT Image Library).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It's a bad time to be an ISIS commander. In response to the continual failures on the battlefield, ISIS commanders are now being executed by being fed to aggressive dogs. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Kurdish commander spoke to the Iranian media outlet ... continue reading


Are we in danger? Islamic State calls for attacks on Europe and US during upcoming Muslim holy month Watch

Image of Abu Mohamed al-Adnani released a 31-minute speech to call ISIS supporters to fight (ISIS video).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

ISIS followers have been urged to strike at Europe and the United States by a 31-minute speech Abu Mohamed al-Adnani posted online. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In his speech, al-Adnani told his followers: "The tiniest action you do in the heart of their land is ... continue reading


Iran gleeful: Israel is just eight minutes away from destruction Watch

Image of Iran has precision ballistic missiles which can strike Israel.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A senior Iranian military adviser has said that Israel can be destroyed within eight minutes, if the order is given. The estimate is based on the amount of time it will take for a missile to reach Israel. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Ahmad Karimpour, an ... continue reading


'Isil runs a normal state ... where there are disabled people and so on': Man shot then crucified in public square by wheelchair Jihad Watch

Image of ISIS' wheelchair executioner at work again.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An ISIS militant confined to a wheelchair has made headlines once again for executing an innocent. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to <a ... continue reading


ISIS desecrates Christian headstones Watch

Image of ISIS militant stands with the help of crutches beside destroyed Christian headstone.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a newly released video, an ISIS militant, supporting himself on crutches, stood beside the remains of a destroyed Christian headstone. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The video, shown on <a ... continue reading


Al-Qaeda's new hit list includes Bill Gates Watch

Image of Al Qaeda issues new hit list aimed at American economic leaders.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The latest issue of Al-Qaeda's propaganda magazine 'Inspire' claims the assassination of several American business leaders can be of use in the Prophet's holy war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Daily Mail, a hit list was released for lone wolf jihads ... continue reading


Jesus' baptism site to be cleared of landmines Watch

Image of Christian pilgrims often come to get baptized in the same river Jesus was baptized (Alamy Stock Photo).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Barbed wire, 5,000 landmines and danger signs written in Arabic, English and Hebrew surround the site believed to be the area Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Though the Israeli and Jordanian armies concluded their war in ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: He will never leave you
  • Woman diagnosed with 'nightmare bacteria' in US
  • Daily Readings for Saturday, May 28, 2016
  • Bl. Margaret Pole: Saint of the Day for Saturday, May 28, 2016
  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • WARNING: Exorcist claims demon is targeting families
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jude 1:17, 20-25
17 But remember, my dear friends, what the apostles of our Lord Jesus ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary, seeing your power and your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:27-33
27 They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 28th, 2016 Image

Bl. Margaret Pole
May 28: Martyr of England. She was born Margaret ... Read More