March 12, 2012

Masked gunmen stormed the Syrian desert monastery of Deir Mar Musa, about 80 kms southwest of Homs, destroying property and briefly holding its inhabitants captive.

The monastery’s website reported March 1 that on Feb. 22, about 30 armed men infiltrated the hillside monastery, holding community members at gunpoint as they searched for weapons and money.

The monastery and its church are staffed with Catholic and Orthodox nuns and priests, and the compound has become a centre for Muslim-Christian interfaith dialogue.

Those at the monastery said it was impossible to determine the identity of their assailants.