by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Two people were killed, and 12 were wounded in a terrorist rocket attack on the Greek Orthodox Hagia Sophia Church in Al-Suqaylabiyah, Syria last week, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.
The church was constructed with the approval of the Syrian government, and the attack is believed to have been carried out by Turkish-backed non-state actors in an ongoing fight for influence in the region.
Commissioned by Russian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Hagia Sophia Church in Al-Suqaylabiyah was built to replicate the Hagia Sophia church in Istanbul, which the Turkish government converted into a mosque, ICC reports. The terror attack on the church took place on July 24 during its crowded inauguration ceremony.
In a statement about the attack, ICC President Jeff King said: “Throughout the civil war, we have seen the Syrian government, Turkey, Russia, and others compete for influence across the country. Sunday’s attack is a painful reminder that this competition repeatedly places innocent Christians in the crossfire of regional violence. Warring parties in Syria have once again shown unacceptable disregard for civilian life. Our prayers are with the victims of this attack.”
Condemning the attack, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, John X, said in a separate statement: “Our children in Suqaylabiyah are paying the price of their faith with blood. What happened in Suqaylabiyah is a despicable and reprehensible act of terrorism.”
Syria ranks 15th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
“Even though the public threat of ISIS has largely subsided, Christians in Syria still grapple with daily persecution that may become violent. In areas where Islamic extremist groups are active, leaders of historical church communities may be targeted simply because they are more visible,” Open Doors said in a website statement about the situation of Christians in Syria.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.