Tag Archives: Middle East Conflict

Syrian church calls for an end to cycle of violence

A Syrian refugee in Bekaa, Lebanon. His family has recieved food, heaters and blankets from Caritas. Photo by Patrick Nicholson, Caritas

By Patrick Nicholson

The Catholic Church in Syria has made this powerful statement on the crisis there, where daily violence continues to have a deadly toll and more people are crossing the borders to neighbouring countries.

The statement is in French. It’s calling for an end to the violence and especially all forms of intimidation such as kidnappings and assassinations. It supports the humanitarian mission of UN Envoy Kofi Annan and especially the need to demilitarise the streets.

The Syrican church says in the statement (my translation), “The violence has gone beyond the limit and we can only forcefully urge wise minds to come to their senses and abondon all that is destroying the people and the country.”

The Syrian church is saying it stands in solidarity with all Syrians as they seek a dignified life. It supports the reform process, the need for a democratic and pluralistic society and the urgent need to start negotiations and bring an end to the cycle of violence through dialogue.

Meanwhile, the work of Caritas continues in Syria and with refugees in neighbouring countries. In Lebanon, the mobile clinic of Caritas Lebanon, with a full time certified nurse and occasionally a doctor on board, is touring the different places in the Bekaa on a daily basis making 15-minute stops to give access to basic patient care and medicines to those in need.

That’s just part of the Caritas Lebanon response. Caritas Lebanon has distributed over 400 food kits, 2800 hygiene kits, 100 baby kits, over 1200 undergarments, 100 heaters and 2800 blankets and sheets.

In Jordan, Caritas has been issuing vouchers helping Syrian refugees to receive infant formula and nappies from a Caritas affiliated pharmacy in Mafraq. So far, 30 needy Syrian families have benefited from this assistance. This comes as part of a plan that seeks to deliver this assistance to 200 infants for six months.

More refugees continue to come across the border, with their heartbreaking stories. Children in particular have been affected. According to the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, 1,089 children – boys and girls alike – have been killed so far, and 464 wounded.

But sadly funding to help them is not coming in despite the real needs of people who have witnessed terrible suffering.

Here’s the Syrian Church statement.
Final Report of the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy in Syria Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Emergencies in Syria, Middle East & North Africa, Peacebuilding, Refugees, Syria

Caritas Jordan aiding Syrian refugees while Pope pledges Caritas Syria Easter donation

Caritas Jordan is providing aid to Syrian refugees fleeing conflict. Photo by Caritas Jordan

Refugees continue to flee conflict in Syria to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Meanwhile, the Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict’s Holy Thursday Mass collection in St. John’s basilica will go  to Caritas Syria for humanitarian assistance to Syrian’s forced from their homes because of the conflict.

In the latest update from Caritas Jordan, staff say the number of registered Syrians with them has reached 900 families in Mafraq and Ramtha, comprising 4500-5000 individuals. About 20 individuals are registering daily with Caritas; some are legally staying in Jordan while others managed to jump over the fence and got into the Jordanian territories that way.

After carrying out a distribution of household items in Ramtha and Mafraq two weeks ago, Caritas managed in the past three days to distribute blankets, heaters, bed linens, quilts, towels, plastic mats, sanitary pads, mattresses and jerry cans to 200 Syrian families in Mafraq. This batch targeted newly registered families with UNHCR in addition to single males and females.

Caritas is expecting to receive more relief quantities as its partner Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) pledged to transport two shipping containers laden of food and non-food items. The distribution is taking place inside the Catholic Church vicinity as the priest has allocated one of the halls to place these items and receive the beneficiaries. The UN refugee agency UNHCR is presented there on a weekly basis to fulfill the needs of registration of families who are to receive these items. Continue reading

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Filed under Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Emergencies in Syria, Refugees