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Christians affected by Syrian conflict
(Vatican Radio) Syrian activists say at least 20 soldiers were wounded or killed on Sunday evening when a checkpoint near a Damascus airport was struck by a car bomb.
The airport is located in the capital city’s Mezzeh district and is used by Syria's elite Republican
Guards, Special Forces and Air Force Intelligence. The compound also serves as a private airport for the Assad family. Since the uprising, the airport has been used to fire rockets and artillery at rebellious Sunni Muslim neighbourhoods in Damascus.
At least 93,000 people have been killed since the conflict began two years ago, while hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the violence.
Among those affected by the civil war are Christian communities. A report sent to Aid to the Church in Need, written by a priest ministering in the region, describes the situation in the city of Homs, Syria’s third largest city which has been devastated conflict. Recent explosions in Homs have claimed the lives of some people from the Catholic communities, the report says, including a that of a 10 year old boy.
Speaking with Ann Schneible, spokesperson for Aid to the Church in Need, John Newton, addressed difficulties being faced by Christians in the region.
“There are many different problems which are being faced by Christians who are living in Homs,” he said, “from being caught up in the conflict, to the shortage of supplies which is causing major deprivation among the families out there.”
To address these difficulties, he said, the Church-run humanitarian centre in Homs offers aid to some 6,000 displaced people and families by providing necessities such as food, clothing, medicine, financial help, etc.
In addition to providing humanitarian aid, Newton said, the Church is ensuring that the pastoral needs of Christians are being met. He went on to say that Aid to the Church in Need receives reports from throughout Syria that Churches are “continuing to provide Mass, are continuing to gather the people for prayer, and continuing to offer people hope through prayer and through the Sacraments in a terrible situation.”
Listen to Ann Schneible’s full interview with John Newton: