Mother Pelagia Sayah, the head of the Saint Mar Takla monastery in Maloula denied there has been any attack on the churches and monasteries in Maaloula, an important and historic mountain Christian town outside Damascus.
Maaloula is the last inhabited Aramaic city in the world and is celebrated by Christians all across the globe.
In an interview with Lebanese television, Mother Pelagia explained that militants from Free Syrian Army are still present in the town, and said clashes and an exchange of fire overnight had continued into daylight hours Thursday on the outskirts of the town.
Mother Pelagia's comments appeared to contradict reports on the al-Mayadin channel, which claimed gunmen had taken over the Mar Elias Church in the town.
Heavy clashes between Assad's forces and the Islamist Nusra Front fighters persisted in the surrounding mountains of Maaloula on Thursday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collects information from a network of anti-regime activists.
The rebels entered the ancient Christian village of Maaloula , which is on a UNESCO list of proposed world heritage sites, on Wednesday after a Nusra fighter blew himself up at a regime checkpoint at the entrance to the mountain village.
Maaloula, about 60 kilometers northeast of Damascus, is home to 3,300 residents, some of whom still speak a version of Aramaic, the ancient language of biblical times believed to have been spoken by Jesus.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer