The Syrian army is still engaged in efforts to remove the rebel group of Islamic fundamentalists Jabhat Al-Nusra from the town of Maaloula which is considered to be a symbol of Christian presence in Syria. In recent days militiamen of Jabhat Al-Nusra, the majority neither Syrian nor Arabic, have occupied the town. The army had already repelled once and was only able to rescue most of the Christians. It appears certain, however, that the rebels, in addition to damaging churches and monasteries, have killed at least a dozen people of the Christian community. News however remains conflicting.
Michel Sleiman, President of Lebanon, said that the violence in Maaloula is “shameful and incompatible with the spirit of tolerant religion”, denouncing the attacks on the town's churches, which are defined symbols of civilization that represent a spirit of peace and tolerance. He intends to report Maaloula's situation to the UN, adding that he spoke with French President François Hollande in Nice on Saturday, 7 September.
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