|Population (2004 census)|
Sadad is a very old village; it is probably the one mentioned in the Old Testament (Book of Numbers, 34:8; Book of Ezekiel, 47:15) as Zedad (Hebrew: צְדָד / Tzedad; translated as "Sedada" in the Vulgate), the northeastern boundary of the biblical land of Canaan, the land promised to the Israelites.
Isolated on the edge of the desert, the community has remained predominantly Syriac Orthodox, even after the Muslim conquest of Syria during the 7th century. Aramaic is still spoken there. Sadad had been an important bishopric in the past. There was a close connection between Sadad and the Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian; according to Istifan al-Duwayhi, some of the monks of that monastery came from Sadad.
In a report of 1881, a French military attaché described the state of insecurity of Sadad, whose inhabitants seemed to suffer attacks from the Bedouins. Despite the tax they regularly paid to the tribes that camped in the region, they were always at risk of being depredated. The villagers had therefore created adobe barricades around the village and its surrounding gardens, thus preventing anyone on horseback to enter without dismounting, which an isolated Bedouin rarely did in enemy territory.
On October 21, 2013, the town was reportedly overrun by Islamist militants belonging to the al-Nusra Front, who set up loudspeakers in the main square, calling for residents to return to their houses. At least nine people were reported killed, as Syrian Army forces were sent in on October 22 to try and retake the town, sparking fierce resistance from the militants. Locals were unsure as to the reason behind the attack, though medical supplies within the town's hospital were a possibility, as well as the presence of a military depot nearby.
By October 28, the Syrian Arab Army had taken back control of Sadad. Visiting church leaders and returning villagers found two mass graves of Assyrian/Syriac civilians, including women and children, containing 30 bodies. They were suspected of being massacred by al-Nusra Front militants. Forty-five Christians were killed during the rebel occupation, and several churches were also looted.
The town is nowadays populated by approximately 10,000 inhabitants, predominantly Assyrians/Syriacs.
The village is well known for its several churches, in particular, the church of Mar Sarkis and the church of Saint Theodore,both of which have elaborate, ancient frescoes; it is indeed unusual to find paintings on the walls of Syrian churches.
- Barsum Hilal of Sadad, priest and calligrapher in the 16th century.
- Jullien, p. 194; Walvoord & Zuck (ed.), p. 1315; Rogers & Woods, p. 384.
- El Guindi, p. 176.
- De Courtois, p. 17.
- "Islamist rebels fight army for Christian town in Syria". Reuters. October 22, 2013.
- "Christians in Syria feel forgotten as mass graves found in Sadad". Morning Star News. November 5, 2013.
- "Syria: Bodies of massacred Christians found in mass grave". Independent Catholic News. November 4, 2013.
- Ibrahim, Raymond (2013-11-22). "‘Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria’ Ignored". Human Events (The Human Events Group). Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- Barsum, p. 547.
- Barsum, Ignatius Afram I (2003). Moosa, Matti, ed. The Scattered Pearls: a History of Syriac Literature and Sciences. Gorgias Press.
- De Courtois, Sébastien (2002). Le Génocide oublié : Chrétiens d'Orient, les derniers Araméens (in French). Ellipses. ISBN 978-2729812300.
- Dodd, Erica (2001). The Frescoes of Mar Musa al-Habashi: a Study in Medieval Painting in Syria. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. ISBN 978-0888441393.
- El Guindi, Fadwa (2008). By Noon Prayer: the Rhythm of Islam. Berg. ISBN 978-1845200978.
- Jullien, Michel (1893). Sinaï et Syrie : souvenirs bibliques et chrétiens (in French). Société Saint-Augustin, Desclée de Brouwer et Cie.
- Rogers, Justin M.; Woods, Clyde M. (2006). Leviticus-Numbers. College Press. ISBN 978-0899008783.
- Walvoord, John F.; Zuck, Roy B., ed. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament. Victor Books. ISBN 978-0882078137.