By Ghaleb Kandil – 22 APRIL 2014
A week after its liberation from extremist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, President Bashar al-Assad visited the historic town of Maaloula, where he celebrated Easter with residents, full of joy and sadness because at the destructions provoked by the terrorists. While visiting the city, including the famous monastery of St. Sergius and Bacchus, looted and damaged by terrorists, the Syrian leader has reaffirmed its determination to fight against the “barbarism and obscurantism that target the homeland.”
Addressing the people gathered around him, Assad assured that the people and the Syrian state will rebuild Syria, which will be “even more beautiful than before.” “Even the worst terrorists cannot destroy our heritage and civilization,” said the Syrian president.”Maaloula like other sites of humanity and the Syrian civilization still stand face to barbarism and obscurantism that target the homeland.”
Elias Zakhem, a young resident, told AFP: “We came back home and have found all destroyed. But God willing, we will return (live) here and we will rebuild. This is our city.”
Journalists on site saw houses burned and broken windows. In the orphanage of Mar Takla (St. Thecla) monastery, children’s clothes lying on the ground. In the dining hall, dozens of plates are broken.
The visit of President Assad to Maaloula marks the military and popular supremacy of the state, despite the universal war launched against the country by a coalition led by the United States and including NATO, the Arab countries Gulf and Turkey, and actively supported by Israel.
This supremacy is illustrated by several indices:
*First: Walking through the 55 kilometers between Damascus and Maaloula, north of the capital, the convoy of President Assad has shown that the state controls the ground and terrorist threats did not prevent him to go to his people. On March 10, the Syrian leader had visited at Adra, in a suburb of Damascus, a shelter for refugees, driven from their homes by the extremists.
*Second: At Ain el-Tine, on the road to Maaloula, Assad took a walkabout. He mingled with his people, without bodyguards, proving that his popularity remains intact despite three years of war and propaganda unparalleled in modern history.
*Third: On the way to Maaloula, a Christian city whose inhabitants still speak the language of Christ, Aramaic, Assad positioned himself not as the protector of minorities, such as the Western media are trying to tell, but as the guarantor of a pluralist, tolerant and modern Syria, where all religious beliefs are protected by a state equidistant from all its citizens. This was Syria in the past and will remain so in the future.
*Fourth: The state expressed its political supremacy face to mercenaries without project, handled by foreigners. In this regard, the President of Parliament, Mohammad al-Laham said that the presidential election will be held on June 3 “I fixed the date of the election of a president for the Syrian Arab Republic for citizens living in Syria, It will take place on Tuesday, June 3,” has he announced at a formal meeting of Parliament.
Candidacies may be made from Tuesday until 1 May, he said.