Bombs Target Historically Christian District in Damascus, Severely Damaging Churches

ICC Note:

An unknown group bombed historically Christian districts in Damascus on Monday, killing nine and injuring eighteen people. Several churches were damaged, including the Maronite cathedral. According to the Archbishop, a bomb had also hit his bedroom earlier this month and he only barely managed to escape injury. Although Damascus has not experienced as heavy of conflict as other parts of Syria, the city remains dangerous with terrorist groups such as ISIS controlling various sections. There is a significant church presence in Damascus, and Christians from neighboring communities have sought refuge through these churches.   

 

01/23/2018 Syria (CNA) –  An estimated nine people were killed in a bombing on Monday afternoon in Damascus. The shelling targeted the Bab Touma and al-Shaghour districts, which are historically Christian areas, and several churches were damaged as well.

At least 18 additional people in Old Damascus were injured in the bombings.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.

A bomb reportedly caused “severe damage” to the Maronite cathedral in Damascus. According to Archbishop Samir Nassar, the bomb also knocked out water and electricity.

This is not Archbishop Samir’s first brush with death this month: a bomb hit his bedroom Jan. 8. He survived unscathed due to an extremely well-timed trip to the bathroom before the bombing began.

The Maronites are an Eastern Catholic Church that is in full communion with Rome. There are about 3 million Maronites in the world. Although the church originated in the Levant, there are now significant Maronite populations in Brazil, Argentina, and the United States. The Maronites have faced persecution throughout their history.

The Syrian civil war began nearly seven years ago, in March 2011. More than 400,000 people have been killed. At least 4.8 million have become refugees, and another 8 million have been internally displaced.

What began as demonstrations against the nation’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has become a complex fight among the Syrian regime; moderate rebels; Kurds; and Islamists such as Tahrir al-Sham and the Islamic State.

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