A drone believed to have been operated by terrorists attacked and killed at least two people who attended the opening of a church that is a replica of Hagia Sophia in northwestern Syria on Sunday (local time).
More than a dozen people were injured in the attack that took place at the town of al-Suqaylabiyah in Syria’s Hama province where the service was reportedly being held for the inauguration of the church.
The majority of the town’s population of 17,000 people are Greek Orthodox Christians.
The Syrian Arab Army said it had shot down a number of drones flying over al-Suqaylabiyah according to the Catholic News Agency CNA.
One source said that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a foreign branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria, had launched “two unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with cameras and small-sized missiles that directly targeted the religious gathering”.
The church had been blessed by Patriarch John X of the Greek Orthodox Partiarchate of Antioch and All the East in 2020 when the construction work began and was attended by religious leaders from Syria and Russia.
A plaque which explains the history of Hagia Sophia also stated that Turkey’s decision to convert the landmark building in Constantinople into a mosque was an attempt to erase history but the replica church in al-Suqaylabiyah was built as a way of honouring the original church.