Orthodox Bishop Decries Largest Massacre of Syrian Christians

Metropolitan of Homs and Hama also criticizes world's silent reaction

Rome, (Zenit.org) | 1310 hits

The worst massacre of Christians in Syria since the beginning of the country’s internal conflict took place last week in the town of Sadad, north of Damascus.

Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama, Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, told Fides news agency Nov. 4 that what happened in Sadad was “the most serious and largest massacre of Christians in Syria in the past two and a half years,” and he decried the world’s silence in the face of the atrocity.

Islamist militias invaded the Christian town of Sadad last week which was then re-conquered by the Syrian army. "Forty-five innocent civilians were martyred for no reason, and among them several women and children, many thrown into mass graves,” Metropolitan Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh said.

“Other civilians were threatened and terrorized, thirty were wounded and ten are still missing. For one week, 1,500 families were held as hostages and human shields, among them children, the elderly, the young, men and women.”

He added that some fled on foot, travelling 8 km from Sadad to Al-Hafer to find refuge. “About 2,500 families fled from Sadad, taking only their clothes, due to the outbreak of fighting of armed groups and today they are refugees, scattered between Damascus, Homs, Fayrouza, Zaydal, Maskane, and Al-Fhayle".

The archbishop said there is currently no electricity, water or telephone links to the town and that “all the houses of Sadad were robbed and property looted.”

“The churches are damaged and desecrated, deprived of old books and precious furniture,” he continued. “Schools, government buildings, municipal buildings have been destroyed, along with the post office, the hospital and the clinic".

"What happened in Sadad is the largest massacre of Christians in Syria, and the second in the Middle East after the one that took place in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq, in 2010".

The archbishop concluded: "We have cried out to the world for help but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers? I think of all those who are suffering today in mourning and discomfort: We ask everyone to pray for us".

“There is a lump in the throat and burning in the heart for all that’s happened in my metropolitanate and its poor suffering people,” the archbishop continued.

Locals returned to Sadad Oct. 28 and began to repair the damage. Eyewitnesses say about 50 percent of the town has been destroyed.

Sadad is a small town of 15,000 people, most of whom are Syriac Orthodox Christians, located 160 km north of Damascus. It has 14 churches and a monastery with four priests.