ASIA/SYRIA - Syrian Orthodox Bishop: a humanitarian corridor to save civilians of Sadad is needed

Friday, 25 October 2013

Homs (Agenzia Fides) - The Metropolitan Silwanos Boutros Alnemeh, titular of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Homs and Hama, has launched an appeal to institutions and international humanitarian organizations on behalf of the civilian population - about 3 thousand people – have remained besieged in the villages of Sadad and Hofar, in the region of Qualamun, about a hundred kilometers north-east of Damascus, where another front of the conflict between the government army and anti-Assad militias has opened. Those responsible of the siege - the Bishop explains in his message must "facilitate the departure of the population safely in any direction, both towards the monastery of Al-Attieh, and in the direction of the city of Homs, where we could welcome them". Metropolitan Silwanos begs international organizations, recipients of his appeal, to avoid "statements that may compromise the safety of the residents of the besieged cities and residents in Syria".
As sources of the Syrian Orthodox Church explains to Fides, over a thousand militiamen largely linked to Islamist factions, with thirty military vehicles, equipped with machine guns, have invaded the city occupying the police station, government centers, public facilities, the hospital, post office, causing three deaths among local Christians and damage to several churches. The civilian population has begun the exodus towards Homs and the airport in Damascus.
Sadad has a historical, archaeological and religious importance and is mentioned more than once in the Bible. According to Fides sources, its people - mostly Christians - had refused to form armed "popular committees of defense". (GV- PA) (Agenzia Fides 25/10/2013)