News / Middle East

UN Chief Condemns Priest's Killing in Syria

An undated photo released April 7, 2014 by anti-government activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been authenticated, shows Dutch Father Francis Van Der Lugt in Homs, Syria.
An undated photo released April 7, 2014 by anti-government activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been authenticated, shows Dutch Father Francis Van Der Lugt in Homs, Syria.
VOA News
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing of a Dutch priest in the besieged Syrian city of Homs, calling his shooting death an "inhumane act of violence."

The 75-year-old Jesuit priest, Frans Van Der Lugt, had lived in Syria for decades and had refused to leave Homs despite more than a year of intense fighting there.

Ban said he "heroically stood by the people of Syria" through growing difficulties in the country.

The U.N. chief's spokesman said the killing highlights the urgent need to protect civilians, and Ban demanded that all sides in Syria ensure that people of every religion and ethnicity are protected.

Witnesses said an unknown gunman entered Van Der Lugt's monastery Monday, took him to the garden and shot him in the head. They said he appeared to have been directly targeted.

Van Der Lugt was a well-known figure in Homs, a rebel-held city that has been under a government siege for more than a year. The priest was respected by many for his efforts to get a blockade lifted so that aid could enter the city.

A Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi said Van Der Lugt showed great courage in remaining loyal to the Syrian people despite an extremely risky situation.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki said the United States is "saddened" by the news of Van Der Lugt's death. She said the priest worked to mitigate the immense suffering in Homs. The spokeswoman also deplored continued threats against Christians in Syria.

Some Islamist militants among Syria's rebels have targeted Christians, forcing more than 450,000 of them to flee their homes.  Before the civil war, Syria had an estimated Christian population of 2.5 million.
  • Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad carry pictures of him and his late father, former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, as they commemorate the 67th anniversary of the founding of the Baath party, at an undisclosed location, April 7, 2014.
  • A rebel fighter runs for cover after firing towards the regime's post where forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are located, in Idlib countryside, April 7, 2014.
  • A Syrian man helps a survivor out of a damaged building following an airstrike by Syrian warplanes, Aleppo, April 6, 2014.
  • People work in a field in Aleppo's countryside, April 6, 2014. 
  • Children fill their containers during a water shortage, in Aleppo, April 6, 2014. 
  • Civil defense rescue workers carrying the body of a victim of a Syrian government airstrike, Aleppo, April 6, 2014.

     

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
April 08, 2014 1:09 AM
MORE than likely, the gun and bullets were provided by the US and EU to those fighting against Assad and killing the Syrian people, and also killing everybody of a different faith than they are. --- YES, the guns and bullets supplied by the US and EU, most likely caused his and tens of thousands other deaths.. --- WAR should be the very last option, but the US and EU couldn't wait to get rid of Assad, no matter how many Syrians die.. --- The war would end in a month, IF the US and EU stopped supplying the guns and bullets..... REALLY

by: Anonymous from: Mars
April 07, 2014 11:18 PM
Obama team just sent anti-tank weapons to the FSA/Al-Nusra alliance. So what can one expect from the rebels that do not tolerate Christianity? And why is NATO so obsessed with controlling that part of the middle East while claiming there are nor new energy sources in the West. It is easy, there in need to gas/oil pipe line to throw out Russia from Sea port in the Mediterranean. If it was about concern for civilian death, West would not be sending weapons to help such a bunch of rebels. USA/Turkey/Israel/Saudi Arabia/Qatar appear to prefer the continued suffering or Syria population and more destruction of the country. Sending arms or bombing Syria Govt position is surely a help to the Al-Qaeda/FSA/Al-Nusra allaince.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Jupiter
April 08, 2014 6:26 AM
The US should use the money wasted on the Syrian war, and the rest of the Middle East, to build synthetic oil plants. It could then abandon the Middle East entirely. Of course, it should have done this 40 years ago and it still hasn't done a thing. I'm not holding my breath waiting for something to happen.

by: Aydin from: Australia
April 07, 2014 11:04 PM
Even sadder is the amount of coverage this one person (Dutch priest) gets compared to the numerous women and children slain daily by a brutal regime that is free to do whatever it wants with whom it wants.
In Response

by: Phil
April 10, 2014 9:50 AM
You don't understand what kind of person he was. He was like a Mother Theresa for the Christian in Syria. I know it, I spent all my youth with him.

by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
April 07, 2014 10:29 PM
This is the result to sponsor terrorist group by Saudi Arabia,Turkey,Qatar,Jordon and Nato. What is the use to utilise resources for destrution. Even Today SA is pressing USA to supply deadly weapons to world famous terrorist group to kill woman,girls,children and where ever possible rape and kill girls in a very bruetal manner and all this in the name of civil liberty. I feel very sad the role played by UN in this crisis. They always speak in A/C Office with full security. I feel UN role is destruction rather construction. Give me one example in the last 30 years UN role in construction. First of all they CREATE problem and then after long gape try to solve it. By the way all writer,director and actor of this tragedy are educated and live in civilised society.

by: Not Again from: Canada
April 07, 2014 10:42 AM
How can any human being commit such a crime? Just because this innocent priest complained about the terrible reality the population in Homs was facing, he gets murdered. As much of the same mass murders of innocent civilians, including women and children, there is no possible explanation to such dastardly and horrendous crimes. What is even sadder is that it is quite likekly that the perpetrators of these henious crimes will never face justice. Such crimes do not just reflect baddly on the perpetrators, but on all of humanity that stands by and does nothing to prevent them. The fact that no one has claimed the dastardly crime, and the fact that the priest made the video, it most likely, that Assad and his chronies had a hand in this one, like the many tens of thousands they killed in their custody and blockaded neighborhouds with no claims; but all groups, terrorizing civilians, are suspect of these type of crimes.
In Response

by: Anonymous
April 07, 2014 11:20 PM
Fake conclusion you make, why blame Assad and team who have protected minorities of other religions of many years? The rebels want to see only one religion-and the Sharia version, go figure!
In Response

by: Mike from: yellowhumming@gmail.com
April 07, 2014 9:59 PM
The father said the opposition was not supported by the majority of Syrians:

>>>>Father Frans expressed doubts about the government’s opponents in a letter to the website of a Dutch group favoring the Syrian government in January 2012. “Most Syrians do not support the opposition,” he wrote. “Therefore, you cannot say that this is a popular uprising.” Brenda Stoter Boscolo, a Dutch journalist, said Father Frans still said he felt that way in 2013, after the government had bombarded the Old City for months.<<<<

And he was shot in a insurgent controlled area, so it was likely an insurgent group that killed him.
In Response

by: LittleBat
April 07, 2014 7:04 PM
This priest was a victim of the Islamist rebels in Syria. There can be no doubt of this, and Syrian govt forces are not in control of Homs - it is in the power of these extremists, who are generously funded by the EU and NATO. Anyone who has any doubts on this matter, should consider the similar case of Jesuit Father Paolo - an active sympathiser of the rebels - who also was a victim of their murderous ways.

I find the vague wording of this report by VoA, and the evasion of the issue of who is responsible for this, to be very odd.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More