(The Telegraph) – Fighting raged through the picturesque mountain village of Maaloula, near Damascus, on Thursday, as the regime launched a counter-attack against the rebels.
“They entered the main square and smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary,” said one resident of the area, speaking by phone and too frightened to give his name. “They shelled us from the nearby mountain. Two shells hit the St Thecla convent.”
Maaloula, tucked into the honey-coloured cliffs of a mountain range north of Damascus and on a “tentative” list of applicants for Unesco world heritage status, is associated with the earliest days of Christianity.