"Those who swept through here seized anything of value, plundering even the chancel and the sacristy. Under a portrait of a benevolent Virgin Mary, a thief stole the chalice from the tabernacle."
"Christian hamlet alls [sic] prey to Syrian looters," from AFP, February 9 (thanks to Lookmann):
AFP - The bibles lie untouched on the carved wooden stands but the chandeliers have been dumped upside down on the altar; the Christian village of Al-Yakubiye may have escaped the full ravages of Syria's civil war but it could not avoid the plundering of the fighters.
Along the main road of this agricultural village in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, an old cemetery with stone crosses adjoins an Apostolic Orthodox Armenian church whose door lies open, buffeted by the winds.
Those who swept through here seized anything of value, plundering even the chancel and the sacristy. Under a portrait of a benevolent Virgin Mary, a thief stole the chalice from the tabernacle.
Al-Yakubiye, nestled in a lush mountain overlooking the Orontes valley, fell to the rebels two weeks ago after fighting that lasted for several days.
The bulk of the clashes were around a fortified army post at the entrance to the village, until the troops pulled out hastily and headed to Jisr al-Shugur, further south.
President Bashar al-Assad's soldiers spared the village, which boasts one Catholic and two Armenian churches, from street battles that would have inevitably turned it into ruins....
Some families have begun returning to the village, only to find their homes looted....