Stone Sculpture festival held in Sadad, Syria

SADAD, Syria — Under the auspices of Mor Timotheus Matta Khoury, Bishop of Homs, Hama, Tartus, and its Environs, the Cultural Festival of Stone Sculpture was held in the city of Sadad with the participation of 11 sculptor artists from different regions of Syria.

The festival concluded with an evening honoring the artists and in the presence of a number of our people in the city.

After being welcomed by the Syriac Scouts, guests toured the stone sculptures and listened to an extensive explanation of each work, most recently unveiling the memorial to the Triangle of Mercy Bishop Mor Selwanos Butros Nehmeh.

The evening ended with a speech by Bishop Khoury in which he spoke about the importance of these cultural activities.

The sculptors were honored with shields and certificates at the conclusion of the event.

Sadad is a majority-Syriac town 60km south of Homs and lies just off the M5, a vital highway connecting Damascus and Homs. The town of Sadad twice faced an onslaught from radical jihadist groups. In 2013 the town was overrun by the Islamist militants from the al-Nusra Front which later labelled itself Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. In 2015 ISIS was gaining territory from the Syrian regime and advanced on the town of 15.000 residents.

Earlier that year, ISIS captured the mixed Sunni Muslim and Syriac Christian town of Qaryatayn. Hundreds of Sunni Muslim and Syriac Christians were kidnapped by ISIS. Syriacs were forced to follow the ISIS Islamic demands or face death. Syriac Christians and other religious indigenous minorities have been heavily persecuted wherever Islamic jihadists take control.