Al-Qusair churches show the signs
of the war against Assad and of the religious hatred of the rebelsAfter a year of siege, only some 500 residents are left in
town, with most houses now a pile of rubble. Its 3,000 Christian residents are
gone, centuries of coexistence in ruin, with the St Elijah monastery desecrated
by Islamist militias.Beirut (AsiaNews):
The battle between rebels and army for al-Qusair left the town in ruin,
now reduced to a pile of rubble. Of the 30,000 residents, including some 3,000
Christians, who lived there before the start of the Civil War, only 500 are
left. Images broadcast by the BBC show deserted streets, most residential and
public buildings destroyed by mortar fire, or turned into weapons depots by
anti-Assad militias, who occupied the town for over a year.
The siege did not spare mosques and churches that
for centuries stood side by side, an example of peaceful coexistence between
Muslims and Christians.
Several Orthodox Christian buildings were
desecrated by Islamist rebels, as several witnesses testified, including the
BBC's Lyse Doucet, the first foreign journalist to enter in Al-Qusair.
In a report, the British correspondent describes
the state of neglect of the small Greek Orthodox monastery of St Elijah, symbol
of the local Christian community. In recent months, the rebels vented their rage
at the building, riddled with artillery shells.
On the floor, dozens of religious objects lay,
scattered. On the walls, a few icons and statues are still hanging, but most of
them are defaced and slashed, a sign of wanton, not accidental
Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr Simon Faddoul,
president of Caritas Lebanon, said that for over a year there were no news about
the Christian community of Al-Qusair.
"Most of them," he said, "fled when the city fell
into the hands of the rebels in 2012. Unlike Muslims, many Christians have
crossed the border with Lebanon. Most of the families however preferred to seek
refuge in other cities or villages. "