ACN launches new projects to assist Syrian Christians

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ACN launches new projects to assist Syrian Christians

vaticannews.va and catholicnewsagency.com

The pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need has launched a new fundraising campaign to aid Syrian Christians, whose lives continue to be devastated by violence and poverty.

“The war in Syria has still not ended, terrorism has yet to be defeated and our brothers have more need of our aid than ever,” said Alessandro Monteduro, the director of Aid to the Church in Need in Italy.

Much of the region is still reeling from the destruction left behind by the Islamic State, while the ongoing Syrian civil war – now in its ninth year – continues to bring fresh devastation.

The city of Aleppo, once the most populous city Syria and its main economic and industrial center, was reduced to ruins during a bloody siege from 2012 to 2016.

The number of Christians in Aleppo has fallen dramatically, from 180,000 before the civil war to 32,000 in early 2019.
Facing high inflation, corruption, and a sluggish economy, the people of the city are struggling to rebuild.

In addition, the violence has not been completely eradicated from the city. Local priest Fr. Ibrahim Alsabagh, told TV 2000 this week that on the previous day, “several missiles fell in different parts of the city of Aleppo and this has many people quite worried again.”

AID TO SYRIAN CHRISTIANS

Meanwhile, Aid to the Church in Need has launched a new appeal to help Christians in Syria. Th new projects will focus on obtaining food to distribute to the poorest Christian families in Aleppo, as well as access to cooking gas and fuel for electrical generators.

“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 (ACN).

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.”

The second project will be carried out in Damascus, focusing on purchasing medicine, much of it very expensive, for sick Christians. This project is a personal request of the Greek Melkite Patriarch Youssef Absu, who indicated that without this aid, many sick Christians will be left without help.

Since the beginning of the civil war in 2011 until 2018, Aid to the Church in Need has donated around 30.4 million euros ($34.12 million) to the local Churches in Syria. Among other initiatives, this money has helped begin the process of reconstruction of homes and churches for Christians families in areas that are more stable.

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On the other hand, 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.”

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 30 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.”

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 10:18
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