Islamic State advances toward Christian-majority town in central Syria

November 5, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Islamic State fightersSyria, November 03, 2015: The Christian-majority town of Saddad has come under fighting as Islamic State (IS) militants advanced across the central Homs province last weekend. Jihadists launched an offensive with two suicide bombs against the nearby town of Maheen on Saturday (31 October) and the town fell into their hands on Sunday morning.

There are an estimated 15,000 Christians living in Saddad, a largely Christian town which has 14 churches and a monastery. The town’s Christians speak the ancient language of Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke.

The offensive on Saddad and Maheen has brought IS fighters to just 13 miles (20km) from the road that links Damascus, capital of Syria, with Homs.

Fighting in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, has forced over 120,000 people to flee their homes since the beginning of October, said the United Nations on 26 October. The only supply route for residents of the city’s western (government-controlled) half of the city, was taken by IS militants on 23 October but the Syrian army managed to regain control of the road on 4 November.

Prices for everything soared in the besieged city. “There are hardly any fruits and vegetables in the city, and there are no cars in the streets because the petrol stations are closed,” said resident Salahed-din.

Damascus

Videos have emerged of people locked in cages and paraded through the streets of a (Islamist-held) suburb of Damascus, Syria’s capital city, on the backs of pick-up trucks, apparently being used as human shields to protect the area from being attacked by pro-Government forces. Some of those in cages declare they are Alawites, the minority Muslim sect to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

Over 250,000 people have been killed since the conflict broke out in 2011 and half the country’s population has been displaced.

– barnabas team

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