The Christian town of al-Qaryatain has been liberated from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) in the last few weeks.
After the town was overrun by IS in August 2015, 300 Christians were trapped in the city. Reports from the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, said that 21 Christians were murdered.
He said that some died trying to escape but others were killed for breaking the terms of their ‘dhimmi contracts’ which require them to submit to the rule of Islam.
Harmony among the religions is his goal and the Patriarch was quoted on BBC News saying: “We lived this situation for centuries, we learned how to respect each other, we learned how to live with each other. We can live together again if we are left alone by others.”
Thousands of residents have been returning to rebuild their lives in al-Qaryatain and Palmyra. Many are finding their homes and businesses reduced to rubble. Large areas are being cleared of mines left behind by IS.
Syria is number 5 on the 2016 Open Doors World Watch List. Find out more here…
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