May 10 - As Syrians return to Old Homs, signs of death remain everywhere, including at a monastery where one priest was murdered. Nathan Frandino reports.
As Syrians return to Old Homs, death lingers on nearly every block. Buildings demolished by shelling... Cars riddled with bullets... Mines planted by rebels before they fled the city earlier this week... Death even lies at one monastery that survived more than two years of fighting. Its priest did not. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HOMS RESIDENT NAZEM KANWATI SAYING: "The assassination took place on April 7. A masked armed man entered the convent and asked to meet with Father Frans and to move from the convent. Father Frans refused to move. After that the armed man told Father Frans to sit on a chair and shot him with a rifle and killed him." Father Frans van der Lugt arrived in Syria in the early 70s. When the fighting began, he converted the convent into a shelter for displaced civilians. Christians make up about 10 percent of Syria's population. They traditionally supported President Bashar al-Assad for protecting them -- that support has cost some their lives. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HOMS RESIDENT HALA NAAROUR SAYING: "Father Frans refused to leave the neighborhood and he stayed in the country in order to defend the neighborhood and its residents, especially Christians." More than 150,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has become increasingly sectarian.