Greek Orthodox Christians in a Syrian town have celebrated their annual lighting of a Christmas tree.
Al-Suqaylabiyah, a town of just over 17,000 people at the time of the 2004 census, is the main centre of Syria’s Greek Orthodox community.
Al-Suqaylabiyah is a Christian Greek Orthodox stronghold that successfully defended the town and the surrounding region from ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
The Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad announced in July that it will build a replica of the Hagia Sophia in reaction to Turkey’s conversion of the basilica into a mosque, as previously reported by Greek City Times.
A leader of the pro-Syrian government National Defense Forces militia, Nabeul Al-Abdullah, obtained the approval of Bishop Nicola Baalbaki, the Metropolitan of Hama and its dependencies to build a new church in Al-Suqaylabiyah, located in Hama province.
Russian support for the construction of a Syrian Hagia Sophia was confirmed by the visit of a large military delegation from the Hmeimim base to Al-Suqaylabiyah.
They were received by a number of “national defence” leaders north of Hama, bishops and church officials.