Home > Radical Islam, Wars and Rumors of War > Syria: Islamist Rebels Attack Christian Village Of Maaloula

Syria: Islamist Rebels Attack Christian Village Of Maaloula


Update: Islamist Rebels Attacking Christian Town Enter Man’s Home, ‘They Tried To Force Him To Convert To Islam’

Update 2: Rebels Attack Christian Homes, Churches, Many Feared Dead, ‘Convert To Islam Or You Will Be Beheaded’

By KARIN LAUB and SARAH DiLORENZO, Associated Press – “Al-Qaida-linked rebels launched an assault on a regime-held Christian mountain village in the densely populated west of Syria and new clashes erupted near the capital, Damascus, on Wednesday — part of a brutal battle of attrition each side believes it can win despite more than two years of deadlock.

In the attack on the village of Maaloula, rebels commandeered a mountaintop hotel and nearby caves and shelled the community below, said a nun, speaking by phone from a convent in the village. She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

With the world focused on possible U.S. military action against Syria, there were new signs of fragmentation in rebel ranks, with a small group of jihadis from Russia announcing it has broken away from an umbrella group known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

The Syria conflict, which began with a popular uprising in March 2011, has been stalemated, and it’s not clear if U.S. military strikes over the regime’s alleged chemical weapons use would change that. President Barack Obama has said he seeks limited pinpoint action to deter future chemical attacks, not regime change…

On Wednesday morning, rebels from the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group launched the assault on predominantly Christian Maaloula, some 60 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Damascus, according to a Syrian government official and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-regime group.

At the start of the attack, an al-Nusra fighter blew himself up at a regime checkpoint at the entrance to the village, said the Observatory, which collects information from a network of anti-regime activists.

The explosion was followed by fighting between the rebels and regime forces. Eventually, the rebels seized the checkpoint and disabled two tanks and an armored personnel carrier, the Observatory said. At least eight regime soldiers were killed in the fighting, the group said.

The nun said the rebels had taken over the Safir hotel atop a mountain overlooking the village and where shelling from there. ‘It’s a war. It has been going from 6 a.m. in the morning,’ she said from her convent.

The said the convent houses 13 nuns and 27 orphans. She said around 80 people from the village had come to the convent for safety.” Read more.

Flashback: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Reportedly Massacre Christian Village, Including Women And Children – “Members of the Free Syrian Army reportedly attacked the Christian-dominated al-Duvair village in Reef on the outskirts of Homs on Monday, where they massacred its citizens, including women and children, before the Syrian Army interfered. This reported attack comes shortly after intense fighting in the city of al-Qusseir over the weekend, in which Bashar Al-Assad’s forces inflicted heavy casualties on the rebels.” Read more.

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