The Vatican confirmed on Monday (July 1st) that a Syrian Catholic priest was beheaded June 23rd by Jabhat al-Nusra-linked militants in a convent in Gassanieh, northern Syria.
"On Sunday, June 23rd Syrian priest François Murad was killed in Gassanieh, in northern Syria, in the convent of the Custody of the Holy Land where he had taken refuge," a Vatican statement said.
"According to local sources, the monastery where Murad was staying was attacked by militants linked to Jabhat al-Nusra," the statement said.
Murad, 49, had started to build a Syriac Catholic hermitage in Gassanieh and moved to the convent after the hermitage was bombed at the start of the Syrian conflict, the statement said.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra has been imposing its extremist views on the local community in Aleppo and other parts of Syria. In June, men affiliated with al-Qaeda executed a Syrian boy in front of his parents and siblings in Aleppo.