22 August 2013
In this photo from May, a boy displaced by fighting in Syria attends a class in the governorate of Idlib, Syria. (photo: CNS/Muzaffar Salman, Reuters)
Issam Bishara, CNEWA’s regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, has compiled a brief report on the state of displaced Syrian Christians — both inside Syria and abroad. An excerpt:
In a communication sent to Agenzia Fides, the Syriac Orthodox Church claimed that over 90 percent of the Christians of Homs have been expelled by militant Islamists of the Farouq Brigades, who went door to door confiscating homes and forcing Christians to flee without their belongings. Jesuit sources in Homs say most Christians left on their own initiative to escape the conflict between government forces and insurgents. In either case, the Christian population of Homs has dropped from a pre-conflict total of 160,000 to about 1,000.
Though most of the news is tragic, it is important to recall Pope Francis’ urging: “Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope!” As Mr. Bishara details, there is still cause for hope, as even now people are giving witness to Christ’s love and helping those people experiencing desperate need. For instance:
4,800 displaced Christian families in the area of western Homs and Wadi al Nasara (“Valley of Christians”) have received food and other essentials — hygiene products, winter kits, etc. — in addition to school supplies for around 1,480 students
350 displaced Christian families in Al Hassake were provided food packages
1,000 families isolated in the war zones have been fed
To read the rest, click here. To find out how you can help, follow this link.
To read a Syrian Jesuit’s firsthand account of the great efforts underway to help those affected by the war — especially children — read the Rev. Ziad Hilal’s Letter from Syria, appearing in the Summer 2013 issue of ONE.
Tags: Refugees Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians Relief