Fr Frans van der Lugt’s assassination has shocked Syrians across the country. A man of peace, he helped in the negotiations to break the siege on the Old City of Homs. The Jesuit priest refused to leave out of solidarity with its residents, sharing the suffering they are going through. There are 24 other Christians in the monastery where Fr van der Lugt was killed and the Church is worried about their safety.


The situation in the Old City has deteriorated since a UN brokered deal in February allowing about 1,500 civilians to leave. But there are still hundreds trapped inside the city where no food is allowed in. An appeal was launched on Sunday from civil organisations urging the UN to help end the siege The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said he was shot twice in the head. Jan Stuyt, secretary of the Dutch Jesuit Order, confirmed to AFP news agency that Fr van der Lugt had been killed. [Link]