SHAQRA /Syria/, December 13. /TASS/. Russia's Defense Ministry joined the effort of reconstructing the church in the city of Shaqra in the Syrian province of Daraa, which was almost completely destroyed by the militants. According to the senior priest of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mashar Al Muhanna, the oldest stones of the building are about 1,700 years old.
"Some parts of the church date back 1,500 [years], and the oldest stones are 1,700 years old. We also know that even before the birth of Jesus, there was a place for prayers at this place, people gathered and prayed here. This place has been sacred for thousands of years <...>. Religious services in this church were held until the very beginning of the war. And only in 2013 everything stopped," the senior priest said.
According to him, during the hostilities in Daraa, shells fell down on the church, and militants came here and looted it. After the district's liberation, wealthy residents of the city allocated funds for the restoration of the facility, and now the Russian military has engaged in the work.
"In October, we explored this settlement and saw such an interesting object in the Shaqra - a church - and decided to help to repair it as part of the second stage of post-conflict settlement. <...> We brought eight cubic meters of Karelian pine and five tonnes of cement here. Now we are observing the progress of the work," said Andrey Kotenok, control officer of the second stage of post-conflict settlement.