In Eastern Syria, the Syriac Orthodox church of St Mary, in the city of Deir Ezzor, has held their first prayer service in six years.
3000 Christians are estimated to have lived in Deir Ezzor before the 2011 uprising but many fled. People have gradually started returning as Syrian troops recapture the city, but it is slow progress as living conditions are difficult with destroyed buildings and temperamental access to electricity and water.
On Saturday the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Aphrem II, led a prayer service in the damaged church, St Mary.
According to AFP, the St Mary church still showed signs of the conflict its congregation had experienced: “Stones, strips of wire, papers and remnants of rockets were strewn across the church floor, and bright sunlight streamed in from the blown-out windows.”
A Syriac Orthodox deacon censes
From Sarah Abdullah @sahouraxo