Sadad, SYRIA (Agenzia Fides reports) – The Christian city of Sadad, situated in a strategic area along the road that joins Homs to Damascus, has been at the center of the battle between the army of Assad and rebel militias hegemonized by Islamist groups.
The assault of Sadad by rebel militias took place on Monday afternoon, October 21. According to local sources, also re-launched by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in London, the raid took place in a similar way to that suffered a month ago in the historic Christian village of Maalula. Several hundred men distributed among the elements of the brigades al-Faruk and Islamists of the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the East entered in Sadad from three directions, with thirty military vehicles, targeting initially the city hospital and seizing government buildings.
On Tuesday, the army began a counteroffensive, intervening in support of the local police forces. Meanwhile, some of the 15 thousand inhabitants – mostly Orthodox Christians and Catholics of the Syro rite – began its exodus in the direction of the artery link between Damascus and Homs, which is 15 kilometers.
The biblical city of Sadad, cited in the Book of Numbers and the Book of Ezekiel, is 95 kilometers from Damascus and sixty from Homs. The city is home to two churches dedicated to St. Sergius and St. Theodore, famous for their frescoes.
Syrian Orthodox Bishop: a humanitarian corridor to save civilians of Sadad is needed
(Agenzia Fides) The Metropolitan Silwanos Boutros Alnemeh, titular of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Homs and Hama, has launched an appeal to institutions and international humanitarian organizations on behalf of the civilian population – about 3 thousand people – have remained besieged in the villages of Sadad and Hofar, in the region of Qualamun, about a hundred kilometers north-east of Damascus, where another front of the conflict between the government army and anti-Assad militias has opened.
Those responsible of the siege – the Bishop explains in his message must “facilitate the departure of the population safely in any direction, both towards the monastery of Al-Attieh, and in the direction of the city of Homs, where we could welcome them”. Metropolitan Silwanos begs international organizations, recipients of his appeal, to avoid “statements that may compromise the safety of the residents of the besieged cities and residents in Syria”.
As sources of the Syrian Orthodox Church explains to Fides, over a thousand militiamen largely linked to Islamist factions, with thirty military vehicles, equipped with machine guns, have invaded the city occupying the police station, government centers, public facilities, the hospital, post office, causing three deaths among local Christians and damage to several churches. The civilian population has begun the exodus towards Homs and the airport in Damascus.
Sadad has a historical, archaeological and religious importance and is mentioned more than once in the Bible. According to Fides sources, its people – mostly Christians – had refused to form armed “popular committees of defense”.