VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Hundreds of Christian families are returning to Sadad, Syria, more than two years after their city was overrun by terrorists, a local official said.

Suleiman al Khalil, the mayor of Sadad, told Russian media April 6 of the influx of Christians returning to the city after Russian forces defeated the al Nusra Front, reported Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

“Christians who had left Syria for Europe are beginning to return to Sadad and also to other cities,” he said, according to Fides.


The news agency reported that terrorists of al Nursa Front, also known as al-Qaida in Syria, took hold of the city in October 2013, and “massacres were carried out against the civilian population, confirmed by the discovery of a mass grave with at least 30 dead bodies.”

Sadad was also attacked by Islamic State militants November 2015 in an attempt to conquer the city.

Khalil said the return of Christian families to Sadad can be attributed to successful operations conducted by the Russian military followed by a cease-fire agreement, reported Fides.

The partial cease-fire agreement, signed in Munich Feb. 12, allowed for humanitarian aid to be delivered to across the country.

The mayor of Sadad added that at least at least 100 Christians have returned to the city and another 200 are expected to follow, Fides reported in early April.