Article from varius sources including Fides, the Vatican’s Pontifical Missions news service
Sadad - The Christian towns of Sadad and Hofar, situated in the region of Qualamun, in a strategic area along the road that joins Homs to Damascus, has been since 22/10/2013 at the centre of the battle between the Syrian army and rebel militias lead by terrorist groups.
The assault on Sadad by rebel militias took place on Monday October 21 in the early hours of the morning while the population was asleep. According to local sources, the raid took place in a similar way to that suffered a month ago in the historic Christian village of Maalula. Several hundred men distributed among the elements of the extremists including the al-Qaeda terrorist linked Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant along with the Brigade Farouq entered in to Sadad from three directions, with thirty military vehicles. The extremist rebels tatgeted and occupied the police station, government centers, public facilities, the post office, and hospital where even the sick were taken hostage. The terrorists have caused the deaths of several local Christians and damaged several churches. On Tuesday, the army began a counteroffensive, intervening in support of the local police forces. Meanwhile, some of the 15 thousand inhabitants - mostly Syriac Orthodox, Antiochian Orthodox and Catholics of the Syriac rite - began their exodus in the direction of the artery link between Damascus and Homs. However about 3 thousand people – have remained besieged in the villages of Sadad and Hofar.
The ancient biblical town of Sadad (Zedad) is mentioned in the Old Testament Books of Numbers, 34:8 and the Book of Ezekiel, 47:15, both reference Sadad "Zedad" as the north-eastern boundary of the biblical land of Canaan. Sadad lies 95 kilometres from Damascus and sixty from Homs. The city is home to several churches including two churches dedicated to St. Sergius and St. Theodore, famous for their frescoes.
The video footage linked below is from the historic Syriac Christian town of Sadad in Syria's Homs countryside shows militants from the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) shouting with jubilation as they
claim to have "liberated" the Christian town from the regime forces. The first scene shows the militants next to the corpses of murdered men wearing plain clothes and carrying no weapons. The
cameraman claims they were members of the Shabbiha, a term that the opposition uses to refer to all pro-government Syrians. The second scene shows the militants trying to break open the door of
the City Council building while taking down the Syrian flag and substituting it with the al-Qaeda flag after throwing the picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the ground and stepping on
LINK TO VIDEO
"To the international institutions and organizations, humanitarian, religious and all those who have a humanitarian role in the world.
I appeal to you on behalf of the innocent elders, women, youth and children, held in areas that we can’t get to them and they can’t reach to us in the towns of the Sadad and Hafar. By appealing to those who do not allow them to get out of this besieged areas, and negotiate with them in a manner that helps to get them out and does not affect their safety. To any direction, either towards the City of Dyer Attia or the direction of Homs, and we will receive them.
I ask all who can reach the organizations in the world to reach out and dialogue with them to contribute to this work and to get them out safely, even though they were safe so far.... But they have been trapped for four days with no electricity, no water, no phones, and little food, and there are children in need of milk, and there are people who need medication..... And the number trapped in their homes exceeds three thousand people..... They did not allow them to get out, but put pressure on them and forced them to stay ...and they are refusing to negotiate their release.
To both organizations and to all our followers in the world. I hope that you cooperate with us.... And in a good manner, that will not affect the residents.... And I repeat in a good manner so as not to adversely affect our families. Please share this appeal on your pages and to newspapers, magazines and media and communicate it with who can play a positive role in finding the right solution to get them out.
And we appeal to them in the name of God the merciful, to have mercy on those innocent people who have no guilt, and let them out unharmed..... And deal with them with good.... asking and praying for that God give them patient, and gives them strength, hope and courage, health and wellness ….. Lord ... Lord.... Lord.... Do not abandon them."
The head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, Zakka I (Iwas) on wedensday 23 issued an Apostolic Bull calledthree days of mandatory fasting and paryer, to be observed worldwide, for the freedom of the two abducted Bishops and safety of the beloved town of Sadad.
Extract from the Apostolic Bull issued by the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church "Today, our dearly beloved in Christ, we write to you with great sorrow within us regarding the great and beloved city of Sadad which came under attack from an unknown armed group and our people in Sadad have suffered great dangers as a consequence. We have called upon the international community to help ease the situation and help our Syrian people from the vicious attacks preserving and protecting this historical and great city. To help us secure the release of the two Archbishops and to protect “the mother of the Syrians” Sadad and its residents, and for peace to prevail in Syria we declare a three day fasting beginning on Thursday 24th October to Saturday 26th October concluding with the Holy liturgy in all our churches worldwide on Sunday. May God the Almighty accept your fasting and prayers. Amen"
Saturday 27/10/201: Prayer vigil and solidarity protest, in front of the St. George’s Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, Bab Touma (Thomas Gate) Damascus, in solidarity with the people of the Sadad, Homs province and the kidnapped Archbishops of Aleppo.