Iraqi Hakarat Hezbollag al-Nujaba militias published photos recently showing their control over Mahardah, a Christian-majority town in the Hama countryside, claiming that they had recaptured a number of churches which had never left the control of regime forces.
A communication officer for the Iraqi group said that the "heroes of the Islamic Resistance al-Nujaba chased Jaish al-Izza militants from the Hama countryside and retrieved the churches of the Christian brothers."
The group published photos of their fighters saluting the churches, which an All4Syria correspondent said had never left the regime's control.
The correspondent quoted sources in Mahardah which said that the Shiite militias are trying to benefit from the Christians' cause and are looking to convince the public that they had fought to recapture the churches.
The town of Mahardah is witnessing a sectarian flood of several pro-Iran militias. Its residents issued a statement recently demanding the international community execute its responsibilities and force Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias out of the town.
The statement said that many have left Mahardah fearing the sectarian militias would do them harm, adding that the groups had pushed the town toward conflict with the Free Syrian Army.
It said that the majority of the battle commanders are Iraqi, Iranian or Lebanese Hezbollah, with only a few Syrian National Defense Force militants present in an effort to win over public support.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.
October 19, 2017
by Alsouria Net (opposition website)
October 18, 2017
by Al-Watan (pro-government newspaper)
October 17, 2017
by Al-Akhbar (pro-government Lebanese newspaper)
October 17, 2017
by Enab Baladi Online (opposition website)
October 16, 2017
by Souriatna (opposition news website)