Read this lengthy report at Syria: Christian City Attacked by “Freedom Fighters." CNN, NYT Justify Rebel Assault, by Brad Hoff, at Global Research.
"Levant Report’s own sources inside Syria were present in Saidnaya this week: they report that the townspeople are now sounding the alarm to the international community that Islamist rebels in the surrounding mountains are preparing a major invasion of the Christian city. The primary aim of the rebels, the inhabitants fear, is to commit “religious cleansing” against Christians – similar to what happened only months ago in nearby Maaloula. A reluctant international press is also beginning to acknowledge the potential for a genocidal event against Saidnayans, yet disinformation is already in full swing..."
"...Timothy Heckenlively, a Classics professor at a major central Texas university who has lived in the Saidnaya/Maaloula area, published a brief report in October titled “Saidnaya: another Maaloula in the making?” After the initial successful insurgent entry into Maaloula, he expressed the following concern:
"It appears that the Islamist opposition forces who [wreacked] havoc in Maaloula may be preparing for a similar assault on the equally important Christian village of Saidnaya. On Oct. 1, Fides (a site of the Vatican news network) reported that raids were now commonplace and that one man was dead after clashes the previous day.
"Since October, insurgents have mounted multiple unsuccessful attempts to capture the mountaintop which overlooks Saidnaya – a strategic place from which they could destroy the city below. At the highest point of this mountain sits Cherubim Monastery – an active monastery and retreat center which has an important cultural heritage site: a church which dates to the third century. One of the tallest Christ statues in the world was recently erected on the monastery grounds - a towering 39 meters tall bronze sculpture that was years in planning with the help of Russian benefactors.
"During the spring and summer months, Cherubim Monastery hosts Christian youth camps and church schools. The monks recently had to leave the monastery due to the frequent rebel incursions around the mountain; they are now sheltered in St. George Monastery in the village below.
"In an October 2013 Christianity Today article entitled Latest Stop in Race for World’s Tallest Jesus Statue: War-Torn Syria, the reality of an ongoing religiocide in this historic Christian region was noted:
Saidnaya has recently faced sectarian attacks similar to Maaloula, another Aramaic-speaking pilgrimage destination just 15 miles north. In addition to displacing tens of thousands of people, the attacks have prompted 50,000 Syrian Christians to apply for citizenship in Russia, reports Interfax. “It is for the first time since the Nativity of Christ that we Christians of Qalamoun living in the villages of Saidnaya, Maara Saidnaya, Maaloula and Maaroun are under threat of banishment from our land,” reads the group’s appeal to the Russia Foreign Ministry."