According to a CBN video report by Gary Lane, the CBN News Senior International Reporter, "Maaloula is an ancient Christian city where the people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Located 35 miles northeast of the Syrian capital city of Damascus, Islamic terrorists overran and occupied Maaloula in September 2013.There seems to have been some progress in restoration efforts:
"Because of its ancient history, Maaloula has become a symbol of Christianity. That's why Islamic extremists wanted to dominate it because it is this symbol for all of Syria. And that's why it was important for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime to regain control of the city."
Lane said that the Syrian army "fought aggressively" and "liberated Maaloula eight months after the terrorists seized control." But, he added, the town had already suffered much hardship and destruction.
"Jihadists left St. George's Church in Maaoula largely intact, but they did their damage to the interior, including some of the church's ancient icons," said veteran journalist, Lane.
"Terrorists tried to erase the city's Christian heritage by shooting up the icons. They used knives to desecrate a depiction of the Last Supper. They knocked down a statue of Jesus and broke it into pieces."
And, he added, the terror inflicted on human lives proved even more devastating.
He said that restoration efforts continue at Saint Sarkis Monastery. It's one of the oldest monasteries in all of Christendom. It was heavily damaged by the terrorists, but today it is mostly restored.But I'm sure this is true:
"The monastery chapel remains intact. Built in the 4th century on the ruins of a pagan temple, it predates the Council of Nicea in 325 AD," Lane said. "Missing today are 16th and 18th century icons that once adorned the chapel walls. The jihadists may have either sold or destroyed them."
While many buildings have been restored, it will take longer for the people to rebuild their lives.Background on Maaloula (Ma'aloula, Malula) is here and links.