The Syrian government has announced that it will build a replica of the Hagia Sophia, according to Lebanon's Al-Modon media.
This in opposition to the Turkish regime’s conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
A leader of the pro-Syrian government National Defense Forces militia, Nabeul Al-Abdullah, obtained the approval of Bishop Nicola Baalbaki, the Metropolitan of Hama and its dependencies to build a new church in the city of Suqaylabiyah in Hama province.
More than 17,000 residents of Suqaylabiyah are overwhelmingly Greek Orthodox.
Al-Modon said that the funding for the construction of the church is the first practical and indirect response from Russia to express its anger against Turkey for converting Hagia Sophia.
Russian MP Vitaly Milonov stated that “unlike Turkey, [Syria] is a country that clearly shows the possibility of peaceful and positive interfaith dialogue," adding that "Orthodox Christians in Russia can help Syria with construction."
The talk of creating a replica of Hagia Sophia in northern Hama had started in mid-July when Abdullah announced his donation of a plot of land for the implementation of the project.
He presented the idea to the commander of the Russian controlled Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, and there he got the initial support for the project. This was followed by visits of Russian leaders and officials to the headquarters of the Abd Allah militia in northern Hama, who have been on the front line fighting against Turkish-backed jihadists.
Russian support for the construction of a Syrian Hagia Sophia was confirmed by the visit of a large military delegation from the Hmeimim base to the city of Suqaylabiyah, where they were received by a number of "national defence" leaders north of Hama, bishops and church officials, according to the Lebanese newspaper.
The delegation visited a number of religious sites and schools in the city, examined the project site and promised to help in setting detailed urban plans and secure the necessary support to start work.