24 / 06 / 2013


******* NOTE TO EDITORS *******
The weapon in this photograph belongs to the rebel soldier who respectfully presided over Saturday mass as he accompanied this reporter to meet the local priests in the village – the weapon belongs to him and was allowed inside the church). PLEASE DO NOT misconstrue or distort the meaning of this photograph).


The AK-47 of a Free Syria Army soldier rests on a pulpit next to an image of Jesus Christ at the church of St. Anthony of Padua in the predominantly Christian village of Halassamiya. There are a lot of weapons these days in this small village. As the army began pushing through the mountains that surround the Aleppo/Latakia highway, the Free Syria Army successfully repelled the loyalist forces and took control of the area surrounding the town of Halassamiya. Today, they keep an uneasy peace in the area as government forces routinely shoot mortar shells into this predominantly Christian village.
© Javier Manzano