Scars of war: Ancient village of Maaloula still in ruins 6 months after jihadists left (VIDEO)
Formerly a popular place of pilgrimage among both Christians and Muslims from all over the world, Maaloula became the scene of intense fighting between the Al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front and the Syrian Army since September 2013.
Clashes over the village were continuing for eight months.
RT’s Marina Finoshina visited Maaloula six months after Syrian soldiers expelled the jihadists and “restored security and stability.” Liberated in April, the ancient village has not still recovered. Previously home to nearly 4, 000 people, only a handful of residents now live in Maaloula.
“I used to live with nuns and I was in Damascus when the attack happened – we couldn't come back for a long time. Our patriarch opened a school for kids from Maaloula and we were teaching in Damascus for almost a year. Finally, now we can come back,” resident Amal Al Taweel Maaloula told RT.
The village of Maaloula is some 60 kilometers northeast of Damascus. Located on a highway between the capital and Homs, built into a rugged mountainside, it was long an ancient sanctuary on the UNESCO list of proposed World Heritage sites.
Alongside Catholic and Orthodox monasteries there are the remains of numerous convents, churches, shrines and sanctuaries. It is also one of the very few places in the world where people still speak Western Aramaic, the Biblical language that Jesus is believed to have spoken.