After the terrorist attacks on Qaryaten, around 400 Syriac faithful were able to flee from Qaryaten through the desertuous areas to reach safer areas in Homs or towns like Hewareen, Mheen, Sadad, Zaydal and Fayrouzeh. The fate of more than 250 people is still unknown, with news that they are held hostages by ISIS in Mor Elian Monastery in Qaryaten.
On Wednesday August 26, 2015, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II visited the town of Zaydal and met the people who were able to flee from Qaryaten and reach there. He assured them that the Syriac Orthodox Church will not leave her children alone in the hands of the enemies of humanity. He strongly condemned the terrorist acts that harmed civilians, children and women, calling the international fora to intensify their efforts and find a solution for this crisis.
He stated that “Christians in the Middle East are a balancing factor, and they have to be protected from terrorism that is threatening their mere existence in their homeland. The only solution for putting an end to the crisis in Syria is in a peaceful resolution and fighting together terrorism.
The people of Qaryaten reported that the conditions of those remaining in the town are dreadful with a shortage in the water supply and electricity as well as food and medicine. More than 28 people were martyrized and about 60 wounded people were transferred to Tadmor and Raqqa.
His Holiness offered his condolences to the families of martyrs and victims from Qaryaten and wished the wounded full and quick recovery, hoping that they can soon return to their town after it is liberated from the terrorist groups that hold it.