Armed rebels attack ancient village, church in northern Syria
Damascus, Feb. 11 (Xinhua-ANI): Armed rebels have wreaked havoc on an archeological village in Syria's northern province of Aleppo, the pro-government al-Watan daily said Monday.
Gunmen attacked the archeological Brad village, some 40 km north of Aleppo. The village, inhabited by 5,000 Kurds and annually visited by Christian pilgrims, combines a tomb and church of Saint Maroun, the patron saint of the Maronites, according to the report.
Quoting local villagers, al-Watan said the Mar Maroun Church was vandalized and its windows were smashed.
The incident comes after a rare visit by Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai to Syria on Saturday.
On Sunday, al-Rai said during the enthronement of Greek Orthodox leader, John al-Yaziji, that Syria is paining from " futile wars," stressing that everything that is befalling the country "doesn't equal one innocent drop of Syria's blood."
The Lebanese hierarch's visit came amid reports of harassment against Christians in rebel-held areas in Syria by the opposition fighters, whose ranks have been overwhelmed with Islamist radicals.