Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dutch priest who lived in Syria for decades is slain

Syrian rebels and the government blamed each other for the assassination of Father Frans van der Lugt, 75, at his monastery.

About our Neighborhood Hamidiyeh Simply

Syrian rebels and the government blamed each other for the assassination of Father Frans van der Lugt, 75, at his monastery.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — A Dutch priest who had steadfastly refused to leave the besieged Syrian city of Homs was assassinated by a masked gunman Monday, a killing that robbed Syria of one of its most high-profile interfaith figures.

Father Frans van der Lugt, 75, a Jesuit who had lived in Syria for almost 50 years, was shot in the head in the garden of his monastery in a rebel-held area, according to colleagues and Syrian opposition fighters.

It was unclear who carried out the killing, as rebels and the government blamed each other. But residents said tensions have been high over a possible cease-fire agreement that would evacuate more civilians from rebel-held areas of the city, similar to agreements brokered in the Damascus suburbs in recent months. Extremist rebel groups had objected to further evacuations, said Khaled Erksoussi, head of operations at the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

The priest was "a Syrian among Syrians" who refused to abandon his adopted people even when it meant risking his own life, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said. In a statement, the Vatican called van der Lugt a "man of peace" who wanted to remain faithful to the people to whom he had dedicated his spiritual service.

Van der Lugt had repeatedly called for a solution to end the suffering of residents in besieged areas of Homs, which has been cut off from food supplies by a government siege and is regularly bombarded.

Humanitarian workers said he worked tirelessly to negotiate humanitarian access to the area ahead of the evacuation of 1,400 people by the United Nations in February, when Western-backed peace talks in Geneva turned the global spotlight onto Homs.

Dutch priest who lived in Syria for decades is slain 04/07/14 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2014 11:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans previews 2017-18 NBA season, predicts Warriors will be dethroned

    Bucs

    Tampa isn't the greatest basketball market. In fact, it's just about the worst.

    Mike Evans and Jameis Winston celebrate after connecting for a touchdown against the Bears in September. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Superintendent will ask Pasco School Board to convert Ridgewood High to magnet

    K12

    LAND O'LAKES — It's all but official for Ridgewood High School.

    Superintendent Kurt Browning on Tuesday said he would formally ask the Pasco County School Board on Nov. 7 to approve transforming Ridgewood High School into a magnet technical high school for 2018-19.
  3. Police: Suspicious death in West Tampa appears to be isolated incident

    Crime

    TAMPA — Police are investigating a suspicious death in West Tampa late Tuesday night.

  4. Police: North Tampa homicide does not appear related to Seminole Heights slayings

    Crime

    TAMPA — Police are investigating a homicide in North Tampa early Wednesday morning.

  5. Florida Rep.: Trump says fallen soldier knew what he signed up for (w/video)

    National

    MIAMI — President Donald Trump told the widow of a slain soldier that he "knew what he signed up for," according to a Florida congresswoman.