Tag Archives: syria

Ma’loula Recaptured by Syrian Forces


Syrian troops loyal to president Bashar al-Assad have recaptured the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, according to military sources and state TV.

The military action follows seizure of the rebel-held Syrian border town of Rankous, in the strategically located Qalamoun region, which deprives the opposition their last major base in the area and cuts off a former supply line for weapons and fighters from neighbouring Lebanon.

Read more here.


More on the Nuns in Ma’loula

There are differing versions of what happened to the Greek Orthodox nuns of Maaloula, who left their convent north of Damascus earlier this month. Some say the nuns are being held hostage by Islamic radicals. Others say they were under missile assault by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad and were rescued by rebel fighters.NPR now has a firsthand account from one man who was in Maaloula — and says he helped with the nuns’ passage.



Ma’loula Under Attack

Not that it has hit the news widely, but it has been reported (as a footnote to a BBC article) that, Syrian rebels have launched an assault on the religiously mixed village of Ma’loula, in western Syria, held by government forces.

This is the same Ma’loula that harbors the largest community of modern Western Neo-Aramaic speakers and Ma’loula is the last surviving Western Neo-Aramaic dialect (the same Aramaic language family as Galilean, Samaritan, and Christian Palestinian Aramaic).

A Christian nun in Maaloula told the Associated Press news agency that the rebels had seized a mountain-top hotel and were shelling the community below.

Please keep them in your prayers.


Aramaic Relations in Syria Strain Further

“Syria is according to information received by the Society for Threatened Peoples -STP (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker GfbV) increasing pressure on the Assyrian Aramaic language and culture. The international human rights organisation with its centre in Göttingen stated on Tuesday that the Syrian secret service has forbidden a performance of the popular Assyrian Aramaic musician, Habib Mousa, at a concert of another artist in the city of Kamishli in the north-east of the country. For the Assyrian Aramaic Christians this ban is a sign that the totalitarian Baath Party, which has ruled since 1963, is still pursuing its goal of forcible Arabicisation of the Assyrian Chaldaic and Kurdish ethnic groups”, criticised the chair of the German section of the STP, Tilman Zülch. “The intention is to ensure that the Christians give up among other things their New Aramaic language in favour of Arabic.” The opposition Assyrian Democratic Organisation ADO also sharply condemned the ban on the performance by the Syrian authorities.”



eBay Travesty: Syriac Manuscript Chopped Up

Why? Why did this have to happen?

For those who read The Aramaic Blog, do you remember the medical manuscript that I mentioned earlier? Well, a single page of the text came up on eBay just the other day from the same seller, and it seemed very fishy to me. So I emailed them:

To Whom It May Concern,

May I ask why this individual leaf has been sold separately from the rest of this manuscript as listed earlier this month?

Has there been any attempt to preserve the entirety of the text? Have any scholars had time to discern any historical significance from the relic in its original state before these pieces have been separated?

Thank you for your time,

Steve Caruso
Aramaic Designs, & The Aramaic Blog

To my dismay, I received the following reply (emphasis mine):

Dear [Steve Caruso],

We have not found a buyer for the entire text, which is why we are auctioning it off 1 page at a time. We are offering the book, which has 27 pages left, and the cover, for $23,000.

– goldrelics

For those of you who know my opinions about manuscript conservation, this has greatly disheartened me.

Below is the contact information for “goldrelics.” I encourage and implore everyone who has similar sentiment about the preservation of ancient texts to contact them and express your displeasure in the strongest terms possible, and pass this information on to others:

Email: ebay@goldrelics.com
eBayStore Listing: http://myworld.ebay.com/goldrelics/

Where I find I lack the finances to preserve this manuscript myself, I am contemplating putting together a fund to salvage what is left of the document. People who would be willing to donate towards this cause please contact me through Information@AramaicDesigns.com. If there is enough interest, I’ll set up an account to handle any funds contributed in a responsible, transparent fashion. If not.. well, I can at least say that I tried.