A newly-renovated status of Virgin Mary will be mounted on a hilltop that overlooks the ancient Christian city of Maaloula, thanks to the Syrian Army and National Defense Forces who managed to secure large quantities of the town’s historic treasure.

The status was destroyed by Islamic militia fighting Syrian government when they took over the town in December 2013, vandalizing old churches, robbing icons and Christian symbols from monasteries and smashing status and crosses.

Maaloula is located nearly 55 km to the northwest of Damascus at an altitude of more than 1500 meters. The town is built into the rugged mountainside where Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, is still spoken.

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