Sporadic fighting continues after Syrian government troops have regained control of the village of Maaloula, a center of Christianity in the region. RT’s correspondent reports from the village, amid the shooting and fighter jets overhead.
Despite the battle, RT’s crew made to the central square of Maaloula, the first time since they arrived in Syria on Saturday.
From there they headed towards Mar Takla (St.Thakla) – one of the two oldest surviving monasteries in Syria — on the edge of Maaloula.
On the way they were caught in crossfire during which the camera-man’s assistant received a mild injury.
“We were shooting a package. It was already dark and suddenly militants started to fire. We had to hide between houses. The situation was getting worse and worse. As a result, Kirill’s forehead was slashed by a ricochet,” RT’s camera man said.
On Wednesday, Syrian government troops killed eight rebels and injured 20 others.
Inside the village fire was mainly targeting the mountaintop Safir Hotel, which the Al-Nusra Front militants seized last Wednesday. There were no militants inside, the army said, but some 200 jihadists are still hiding in the mountains that surround Maaloula.
“It’s still dangerous to be here, and this is why they [army] allow journalists here only before sunset,” Maria Finoshina reported. “According to the army there were local residents who were kept hostage in the basement of this hotel, but they are also free now,” she added.
The Al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters have carried out several attacks on Maaloula since last Wednesday.
On Saturday pro-Assad forces managed to regain control for a short period of time, however by in the early hours of Sunday morning militants had retaken the village.
That occasion also saw the RT crew come perilously close to the fighting.