Qusayr (Agenzia Fides) - A band of radical militiamen broke into the Greek-catholic church of St. Elias in Qusayr this morning, near the town of Homs, desecrating it. The militiamen forced the door, rang the bells in mockery, laughed at the sacred symbols of the Christian faith with the sole purpose of carrying out a demonstrative act and making a mockery of the Christian community. "It is the first time, in the ongoing conflict, that such an episode occurs, in which sacred symbols are deliberately hit," notes with concern a local source of Fides.
In Qusayr the Christians who have chosen to remain are very few, mostly elderly people who were unwilling to abandon their homes. In fact, in the ultimatum launched by an armed faction (see Fides 9 and 12/6/2012), in past days, about a thousand Christians, who were still in town, have abandoned their homes, taking refuge in the surrounding countryside or relatives in other Syrian cities. Some eyewitnesses "saddened and frightened – told Fides about the break-in the church in Qusayr". The act was condemned by Catholic priests and authorities who talk about the "worrying sign, which confirms the attempt of some armed gangs to unleash a sectarian war." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/6/2012)