Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Nusra Front [Note: Al-Qaeda linked — RD] backed by another group, the Qalamon Liberation Front, moved into the village after heavy clashes with the army late Saturday.
“The army pulled back to the outskirts of the village and both (rebel groups) are in total control of Maaloula now,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
He said pro-government fighters remain inside the village, in hiding.
Initially, troops loyal to President Bashar Assad moved into Maaloula early Saturday, he said, “but they left when rebels started pouring into the village.” Now, Abdurrahman said, the army is surrounding the village and controlling its entrances and exits.
A Maaloula resident said the rebels, many of them sporting beards and shouting Allahu Akbar, or God is great, attacked Christian homes and churches shortly after moving into the village overnight.
“They shot and killed people. I heard gunshots and then I saw three bodies lying in the middle of a street in the old quarters of the village,” said the resident, reached by telephone from neighboring Jordan. “So many people fled the village for safety.”
Now, Maaloula “is a ghost town. Where is President Obama to see what befallen on us?” asked the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal by the rebels.
President Obama, sir, is preparing to talk to the American people to convince us why our missiles should come to the aid of the people shouting “Allahu akbar” and attacking your homes, churches, and selves. That’s where the American president is. Perhaps he went to church this morning. Perhaps he took a short respite from pondering the fate of his credibility to say a prayer for you all.
UPDATE: I’m gratified to see that Southern Baptist leader Dr. Russell Moore, and Pastor Rick Warren, are among the prominent US Christian leaders who have spoken out against Obama’s proposed war on Syria. More American Christians need to find their voice, and use it to speak loud and clear to their Congressmen.