Dutch priest shot dead in Homs

Amsterdam - A Dutch Jesuit priest was abducted and shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the besieged Syrian city of Homs on Monday, Dutch media reported.

A file picture shows Dutch Roman Catholic priest, Father Frans van der Lugt posing at the monastery of the Jesuit Fathers where he lived in the besieged area of Homs in Syria. Picture: MOHAMMED ABU HAMZA. Credit: AFP

Frans van der Lugt, 75, had been living in Syria since the early 1970s. Armed men took him from his home in the morning and shot him twice in the head, Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant reported, citing the head of the Jesuit order in the Netherlands.

Van der Lugt warned of the humanitarian suffering of the population in Homs in a video appeal earlier this year, saying people in Homs were living in misery and starvation.

"It's impossible that we suffer and the world does nothing," the Catholic priest said, speaking in Arabic.

Christians made up about 10 percent of Syria's population before protests in 2011 led to a wider civil war. The minority traditionally supported President Bashar al-Assad for protecting them and has been attacked by his opponents for that stand. - Reuters