Damascus – At least 17 churches and Christian shrines have been destroyed, desecrated or occupied by jihadist groups in the Syrian conflict. The list was provided by sources linked to local Christian communities such as the Assyrian International News Agency. In particular, the destruction carried out by the militants of the Islamic State (Daesh) against places of Christian worship in the villages of the Khabour Valley, attacked by jihadists in February are accurately documented.
In that area alone, at least 11 churches and shrines were destroyed – some of which burned to the ground with a dynamite. In many cases, the jihadist violence was relentless against places of worship that guarded the common memory of the various Christian local communities, such as Deir el-Zor with the memorial church of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, which was destroyed by the militiamen of Daesh in September 2014.
In other situations, the jihadists deliberately targeted the relics of the saints kept in churches, as for example last August in the monastery of Mar Elian.
The ancient Sanctuary of the V century, located on the outskirts of Quaryatayn and entrusted in recent centuries to the Syrian Catholic Church, was refounded by the Italian Jesuit Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglio, kidnapped on July 29, 2013 while he was in Raqqa, the Syrian capital for years under the control of the jihadist Islamic State The prior of Mar Elian, Fr. Jacques Murad, was himself taken prisoner by jihadists on May 21, and released on 11 October.
Source: Fides News