By Vatican News
The Secretary General of the United Nations says the UN “remains deeply concerned over the safety and protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure following continued reports of hostilities in north-west Syria over the last days, including airstrikes, shelling and the alleged use of barrel bombs.”
According to the UN, more than 30 civilians have been killed in the area of Idlib since 12 July.
The United Nations is urging “all parties to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law, to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to exercise restraint.”
Aid for Syrian Christians
Meanwhile, Aid to the Church in Need has launched a new appeal to help Christians in Syria.
“In Syria, the war is not yet over, terrorism has still not been defeated, and our brothers and sisters need our help more than ever,” says Alessandro Monteduro, Director of the Italian branch of Aid to the Church in Need (CAN).
He was speaking at the launch of a new initiative by ACN to support two different projects to assist Syrian Christians.
The first project is centred in Aleppo, where years of conflict have left deep wounds. Responding to a request from the Apostolic Vicar of the city, Bishop George Abou Khazen, CAN will distribute food packages to the poorest Christian families, as well as financial aid to help them acquire gas and heating oil.
In Damascus, the Greek-Melkite Patriarch Youssef Absi has asked for help to obtain medicine and home medical care for seriously ill Christians. In requesting aid, Project Manager Sister Joseph Marie Chanaa writes, “Without your benefactors we would not be able to carry out our mission.”
Keeping up "the light of hope"
From the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011 until the end of 2018, Aid to the Church in Need has donated more than thirty million euros to the local Churches, including approximately 8.6 million euros last year alone. In many areas where the security situation has improved, ACN and has already begun to support a plan for the reconstruction of churches and Christian homes.
Pope Francis, in his Urbi et Orbi message for Easter of this year, described the Syrian people as “victims of an ongoing conflict to which we risk becoming ever more resigned and even indifferent.” The benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need, says Monteduro, have never given up, and have always fought the “virus of indifference with concrete and generous solidarity.” “With these two projects,” he says, “we want to contribute, once again, to keeping up the light of hope in the country in which our brothers and sisters were called Christian for the first time.”