Monasteries and churches are being bombed in Damascus | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Monasteries and churches are being bombed in Damascus

A hundred, maybe more. A real rainfall of mortar shells has been coming down since from Monday, January 8, on the Christian neighborhoods inside of the old city of Damascus. The Greek-Catholic (Melkite) Patriarchate and the parish managed by the Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, dedicated to the Conversion of St. Paul, in the district of Bab Touma, paid the price. In the Franciscan parish, fortunately, only material damage and no victims were reported.
A different fate befell some of the faithful of the Greek-Melkite patriarchate. At least 30 mortar rounds have fallen in the area where the cathedral and the patriarchal headquarters are located. Some sources have reported five victims. The attacks come from the East Goutha area, on the outskirts of the capital, which is controlled by anti-Assad rebels.
Mortar rounds do not have a specific target. The aim is mainly to feed the tension, after a long period of substantial tranquility, especially when there are the prospects of possible international negotiations on the horizon.
Br. Bahjat Elia Karakach, a friar minor, is in charge of the parish of the Conversion of St. Paul. On January 15, a mortar shell fell on the convent and parish, he explained to us. Damage to the church and to the parish structures were significant. With plaster flakes everywhere, the windows were broken by the movement of the air. One strike in particular hit one of the church’s outer walls. “The situation,” explained the friar, “remains highly unstable.”