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Archbishop of Damascus: Nine dead and 47 injured in ‘rain of mortars’ in Syria

A man reacts as he carries a wounded girl who survived an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus (CNS photo/Bassam Khabieh, Reuters)

The Maronite Archbishop of Damascus has spoken about the moment bombs rained down on his neighbourhood – killing nine people and injuring 50.

Two churches were the target of “a rain of mortars” on Sunday, August 23 – with shells crashing through the archbishop’s church roof.

“Part of the war in Syria is to live under indiscriminate bombing,” Archbishop Samir Nassar said, “a kind of Russian roulette which is always unpredictable.”

Archbishop Samir said: “These are people who have not been able to leave the country and escape the fighting.

“Of those who died survivors say: ‘You won’t have to see and live this cruel tragedy without end. You won’t see your children, your friends and your neighbours suffer and die in the blind violence and fanatical killing unable to save them or help them without understanding why.’

“The survivors bury the dead without having been able to treat the wounded since they lack means and competence.

“They sink into silent prayer before the relics of martyrs, the seeds of faith.”

The church held, thanks in part due to it being constructed from stone vaults.

However, the archbishop said the parish is still facing problems – “cracks larger than arches, water tanks and fuel tanks ripped open, air conditioning out of service.”

The nearby Latin church and several families in the neighbourhood were also affected.

The Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima will travel to Damascus from Fatima on September 7, on a mission of peace in the wake of the attacks.

Syria has about 12million refugees and displaced people. The archbishop has previously made pleas for Christians in the West to pray for those caught in the crossfire of the Syrian conflict.

He called the Syrian crisis “the cruelest human drama since the Second World War.”