ASIA/SYRIA - Mortar shells on the center of Damascus: children, civilians and churches affected

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - Mortar shells damaged the Primary Christian School St. John Damascene yesterday in the district of Al-Qassaa in Damascus, killing 5 children and wounding 27 others. Another rocket hit a school bus in Bab Touma, a suburb in Damascus predominantly Christian, injuring 5 students. In the same area, a mortar shell hit St. Cross Church, already hit in past days and another damaged the St. Cyril Church. Three other people were killed by a rocket, always in the center of the capital.
In past days, a rocket had also hit the Apostolic Nunciature, while on Sunday, November 10 a mortar shell had killed a Christian man with his four children.
For days the historical center and the most modern part of the center of Damascus have been the target of a rain of mortar shells by armed rebels nested in the surrounding neighborhoods, occupied by militants. As a priest from Damascus explained to Fides, "neighborhoods are affected indiscriminately, just because they are the areas under the regular army control. And the civilian population pay the price. The suburbs, such as Jaramana, Kassaa, Malki of Damascus are being targeted, that are the most pluralistic, inhabited by people of different ethnicity and religion". In a note sent to Fides, Fr. Gabriel Dawood, a Syriac Orthodox priest of the Cathedral of St. George in Damascus, says that "in our churches we continue to hope and to light candles, praying for all the faithful killed, and for those at risk, especially for the Christian villages threatened by armed gangs". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 12/11/2013)