Anti-Assad rebels have been forced out of many parts of Syria’s ancient Christian village of Maaloula, but the fighting there remains heavy, RT correspondent Maria Finoshina reports from the scene.
After arriving in the center of the village Wednesday, Maria Finoshina and the RT camera crew saw signs of a recent battle and heard shelling. Syrian Army soldiers said the village was freed from jihadists. The claim would later in the day turn out to be premature.
Al-Nusra Front fighters first attacked the village last Wednesday. The following seven days saw Maaloula torn between the rebels and government forces, with both occasionally gaining control over the village.
Some residents, who claim rebels have resorted to looting, executions and forcing residents to convert to Islam, chose to join the Army to defend their village. Among them, Saba Ubeid, a store owner, said when filmed by RT in 2012 that he was sure the rebels would never come to the village. This time he was armed with a gun and fought alongside Syrian soldiers.