Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - The Metropolitan Archbishop of Aleppo, His Exc. Mgr. Jean-Clément Jeanbart’s residence was broken into and looted during clashes between militiamen and loyalist troops. The Archbishop, his Vicar and some priests fled a few hours before the episode, which occurred last Thursday, and took refuge in the house of the Franciscans in Aleppo. According to Fides sources in the local Catholic community, those responsible "are unidentified groups, who want to foster a sectarian war and involve the Syrian people in a sectarian strife." As confirmed to Fides by the Franciscan Fr. George Abu Khazen, OFM, Apostolic Pro-Vicar of the Latin Catholic community, who welcomed the greek-Catholic confreres, "Archbishop Jeanbart expressed great concern and dismay over the incident, and he repeated, shaken, in a single word : Why? ". Then he left for Lebanon, where he still stands. In the following days, when the military regained control of the situation, the Mgr. Jeanbat’s Vicar was able to return to his see, noting that the doors had been forced and there were different objects missing (such as a computer and projector).
Fr. George explains that in past days there was a battle in the old city of Aleppo, and the fighting reached Fahrat Square, where all the archbishoprics are. In addition to the greek Catholic (Melkite), also the Maronite Catholic was damaged. Some militants also broke into the Byzantine Christian museum "Maarrat Nahman", damaging some artifacts and icons. According to Fr. George, a solution to the conflict "cannot still be seen, because none of the protagonists in the field, national and international, put pressure to start real dialogue."
Speaking to Fides, another member of the local hierarchy, who requested anonymity for security reasons, warns: "With the intervention, well established, of jihadist groups, there is an attempt to foment hatred and sectarian conflict. There is an increasing number of Wahhabi and Salafi Islamist militias, from Chechnya, Pakistan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Arabia, Libya: these groups have the sole purpose of bringing chaos, destruction, atrocities, and to paralyze social life. The Syrian civilian population is victim. But will not fall into this trap. " (PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/08/2012)