One person died and six were injured in an attack on a Greek Orthodox church on Sunday (24). Two drones were launched during the consecration service in the city of Suqaylabiyah in central Syria. Sources from the Open Doors mission confirmed that all the victims were Christians and that there were also government officials at the ceremony.
Five of the injured had superficial injuries and the sixth victim also had no serious injuries, but had to stay hospitalized under medical care. The explosion did not directly hit the central part of the temple where the worship took place, nor did it actually damage the structure of the building.
This is not the first attack on Christians this year from Turkey. In May, a predominantly Christian village in northern Syria was bombed and almost completely abandoned. According to Open Doors partner organizations operating in the region, there are daily bombings and shootings in the country.
“This region is regularly attacked by Turkey and its allies. The church was hit by cannons and missiles. “, reported a member of the organization. According to the Syrian-Arab News Agency (SANA), the rebel group of Turkish origin, Hayat Tahir al-Sham (HTS, from the Arabic acronym) is responsible for the attack.
The group is known as an affiliate of Al Qaeda and has recently learned to produce various types of explosives that can be remotely controlled and reach distant targets. This attack is believed to have been operated from the Greater Idlib region of northeastern Syria. The country is in 15 th position on the World Persecution List 2022, a document edited every year by Open Doors that classifies the 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted.
The temple hit over the weekend was built under inspiration of the historic Byzantine church Hagia Sophia, Turkey. In September 2020, the first pillar of the Syrian replica, the little Hagia Sophia, was founded in the city of Suqaylabiyah which has approximately 17 a thousand residents. , mostly Orthodox Christians.
The intention of the project is to resume the Christian meaning of the church, since, in Turkey, Muslims closed the original Hagia Sophia in 2020 and turned it into a museum and place of prayer for Muslims.