"A camera tour by el-Nashra crew in the newly liberated town of Yabroud reveals how many Christian churches have been deliberately desecrated by Wahhabi terrorists from the Western-backed "Free Syrian Army" (FSA), the "moderate" Islamic Front, and their close allies from al-Qaeda's Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front). Yabroud, which was a week ago considered the last terrorist bastion in the strategic mountainous Qalamoun area neighboring Lebanon, fell to the Syrian Army last Sunday, March 16, 2014."
The Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady is a place of shame, of burnt copies of the New Testament, paintings slashed with knives - many were lying in strips of gold and red fabric beside the altar's broken cross - and mosaics chiselled from the walls. Sceptics may ask if the regime performed this act of sacrilege - for the benefit of cameras - but it must have taken weeks to have wrecked this place of worship with its ancient columns and to have gouged out the eyes of the mosaic saints.
The Islamists had attacked a mosaic of St George and the Dragon - and had even gouged out the dragon's eyes as well as those of the unfortunate knight. You cannot call such sacrilege an infamy. But you have to ask how Syria can ever repair relations between its Muslims and Christians after such vandalism. Perhaps the answer is never, although in an act of immense courage, the Muslim civilians of this ancient town protected their Christian neighbours to the end..........
Um Qusai claimed that the Jabhat al-Nusra fighters - who like her were Sunni Muslims - forced the people in the town to pay high prices for the food they brought in. The Christians had to pay even higher prices as a tax because of their religion. And much of the food, she said, was UN humanitarian aid from across the border in Lebanon - presumably from the refugee camps in which supporters of the rebels have sought safety. Full article here
Photos from Yabroud's Melkite Catholic Church via the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.
Although the gunmen are gone, their sectarian fingerprint on Yabrud remains. All you have to do is visit St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church to see the destruction. Icons have had their faces scratched out, church pews have been broken, statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ have been smashed, and the church Bibles have been burned. View here