Turkish-backed groups loot contents of Mar Touma Church in Syria’s Sere Kaniye

DERBASIYA, Syria (North Press) – Father Mikhail Jacob, priest of Mar Assia al-Hakim Church in Derbasiya, accused members of Turkish-backed armed opposition groups of stealing and looting the contents of the Mar Touma Church in the city of Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain).

Residents of the city of Sere Kaniye woke up on Sunday morning, to find the Mar Touma Syriac Orthodox Church in the city had been robbed and looted after its locks were broken.

 Jacob told North Press that according to sources from the city of Sere Kaniye, that the theft even extends to the brass instruments belonging to the Syriac Orthodox Scout Squad.

The priest, who used to hold masses at St. Thomas Church for seven years, added that the stolen items included all that was left of furniture and metal, such as candlesticks, candle holders and lights.

The International Commission of Inquiry on Syria indicated in its latest report that “members of the National Army committed violations against civilians in Serekaniye and Afrin… and looted property in a coordinated manner.”

Fr Mikhail Jacob considered that “a disregard for Christian religious sanctities, because we have nothing left in our cities except for the churches that must be preserved.”

Fr Mikhail Jacob had held the last mass in the church in Sere Kaniye, a day before the Turkish invasion of the city at the end of last year, and he could not return after the migration of all its Christian residents.

(Reporting by Reem Chamoun)