Article from Lebanese daily newspaper, Al-Akhbar
Nearly 40 nuns and orphans are trapped inside a convent in the Syrian town of Maaloula, where government troops are battling rebel forces, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate said Tuesday.
The ancient town has been the scene of clashes since earlier this month.
"The Mar Takla convent is living through painful days because it is in the middle of the zone where fire is being exchanged, which makes getting supplies difficult and dangerous," the Damascus-based Patriarchate said in a statement.
"The generator has gone out because of the fighting, halting the supply of water to the convent and threatening the lives of those inside," the statement added.
It issued an "urgent appeal" to humanitarian groups to "ensure the necessary supplies to residents of the convent, nuns and orphans who number close 40 people."
The convent is located half-way between the hills of Maaloula, which are still under rebel control, and the center of the town, which has been retaken by the army.
Syrian opposition forces, including jihadist fighters, took control of Maaloula on September 9.
The statement (PDF) of appeal from the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch regarding the plight of the nuns and orphans at the Convent of St. Tekla, in Maaloula, 24/09/2013, can be downloaded at this link in French only.
Three days later, the Syrian army entered the town, seizing back parts, but failing to secure it entirely.
Since the fighting began in the town, most of its 5,000 residents have fled to neighboring villages or to Damascus. Original article here
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Church for North America was interviewed on the 16th of September by Boston's NPR radio station for their Here and Now program concerning the plight of the ancient Orthodox Christian communities of Syria. The interview is available for listening, and also as a written transcript, both available here.
(Remember the Tears of Maaloula)
Article from the Vatican's L'Osservatore
Romano, September 25, 2013 via the website Ora pro Syria
In Italian only. Read here