The crisis Syria has been facing over the past decade has had a major impact on the local population, including Christians.
Parish Priest of Aleppo Br. Ibrahim Sabagh says, "About 85 per cent of our families are now below the poverty line. They are suffering from poverty, extreme poverty, frustration, and there are people living in total annihilation who need all kinds of help. Many people have no income and face extreme poverty and very high inflation, and are forced to go without foods such as meat, chicken, eggs and cheese. The price of vegetables has also increased. There is struggle in all sectors, a suffocating crisis where man really faces the risk of hunger."
He adds, "Electricity only comes on for one hour a day for every ten hours of blackout, meaning that over a 24-hour period, electricity only comes on for about two-and-a-half hours. They can't stay home because they would starve, but at the same time they can't go to the hospital. They don't want to hear about either Coronavirus or precautionary measures."
Br Ibrahim Sabagh concludes, "When they ask us for help, in a context like this where there is no social assistance, as a Church we intervene strongly. We try to contribute to the basic needs, starting with health care, which we provide to all the faithful, even of different rites. All this darkness and all these crises we are experiencing will not last for eternity, but will be limited to "two and a half times" as written in Revelation. In the end the light has to win."
The Church's help is not only limited to material support, but also includes moral support. Father Ibrahim Sabagh emphasizes how a Christian today needs a lot of hope.
To worsen the situation in addition to cold, lack of electricity and hunger, there is the pandemic of Coronavirus with health facilities collapsing.
The Church is committed as much as possible: we no longer speak of aid, but of real relief to Christians in need.
An economic pressure that especially affects energy sources; fuel is not always available to refuel cars and run generators, and this affects everyone. In the city of Aleppo, in particular, there is often a lack of electricity.
The number of Christians in Aleppo has decreased by 66 per cent in ten years: a figure that shows no sign of decreasing due to continuous emigration.