On Sunday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited an ancient Christian town recaptured from rebels last week.
Recently, Syria has suffered from much conflict. The Civil War has been escalating since March 15, 2011. The US has dismissed a Syrian plan to hold a presidential election on June 3 as a “parody of democracy.” UN chief Ban Ki-moon also condemned the plan, saying it could torpedo efforts to broker a deal to end the three-year civil war, which has killed 150,000. Chemical weapons attacks, including one by Damascus that killed hundreds of people, have been frequent in Syria. On April 11, there was a poison gas attack in Kfar Zeita, a village that is controlled by rebels in the Hama province. Also Sunday, four French journalists kidnapped and held for 10 months in Syria returned home.
This Easter Sunday President Bashar Assad’s visited Maaloula, some 40 miles northeast of Damascus. The visit was broadcasted on state television. This act went along with his efforts to show that he defends Christians and other minorities. This visit also highlighted growing government confidence in recent gains against insurgents around the capital and along the Lebanese border.
During the visit the President offered encouraging words to his constituents. “No one, no matter the extent of their terrorism, is able to erase our human and cultural history,” Assad declared in Maaloula while in the company of senior Christian clerics. “Maaloula will remain steadfast … in the face of the barbarity and darkness of all who target the homeland.”
He declared that these Christian churches are a part of the country’s cultural heritage and that he would protect them and those who worship there. This war has seen Christian homes and families targeted because of their religion. President Assad says that he will do all that he can to put a stop to this terrorism. He supports the Christians in his country.