AL-TABQA – During their occupation of al-Tabqa city, IS mercenaries eliminated all aspects of religious diversity, and destroyed churches and the Shiite sect’s mosques, in addition to places of worship that belong to Ismaili sect.
Al-Tabqa city was known as small Syria for its ethnic and religious diversity. The city was built with Euphrates Dam building in 1973 and comprised Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Syriacs, Assyrians, and Ismaili and Shiite sects.
The mercenary gangs that had occupied the city before IS in the beginning of 2013 were not better than IS as they intended to displace 400 Christian families in addition to displacing Kurds and Shiites.
As IS occupied the city in last 2013, IS mercenaries deviated all civil diversity aspects.
Al-Tabqa city included 3 churches; one of them was in the middle of the city in the name of Dewar al-Kanissa (The Church’s Square) and it was established in 1975 by the Tripartite Patriarch Neophytos Edelby; it belonged to the Roman Catholics. Then, the Churches Council of the Middle East contributed to construct a larger church on the banks of the lake under the name of two martyred saints ” Sergius and Bacchus”, and it is located near the first neighborhood in Masaken al-Habbary; it belonged to the Roman Orthodox churches. Lastly, an Assyrian small church in al-Kassara eastern the city.
The first church was turned into a parking garage and for repairing military vehicles.
While the two saints Sergius and Bacchus Church that is northern of the city was turned to a factory for explosive devices and booby-trap vehicles.
The third one was turned to a livestock for breeding the sheep. Moreover, the mercenaries destroyed and burned all the crucifixes and photos of the three churches.
Omar Bin al-Khatab Mosque was the only mosque of the Shiite sect in the city, and it was called the Scientific Estate where Islamic religious sciences especially Shiite were studied in, but the mercenaries blasted the mosque, and removed all the pillars of the mosque which were made of iron and cement and took them for their security checkpoints in the city.
The Scientific Estate also was turned to a place where the kidnapped young men underwent sharia courses.
A place for worship that belongs to Ismailia sect was turned into a center of children training. The Ismailis displaced al-Tabqa with the beginning of Free Army factions domination, and most of them displaced towards Hama city that is considered the biggest Ismailis gathering.