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Isil bulldozes 1,500-year-old Catholic church in Syria

Frescoes recently found in the church may date back to the sixth century, which would make them the oldest Christian paintings in the country

Pictures on the internet show Isil bulldozing parts of the 1,500-year-old Catholic monastery of Mar Elian near the Syrian town of Qaryatain, southeast of Homs.

St Elian was martyred in the third century by his father, a Roman soldier, for refusing to renounce Christianity. Frescoes that may date back to the sixth century, which would make them the oldest Christian paintings in the country, were recently uncovered in the church.

Isil took Qaryatain at the start of August and carried off 230 people, among them many Christians.