A witness from Idlib, Syria: “bombs have been falling for days, but we shall not leave”

Giacomo Pizzi14 May 2019

Bombs have been falling for days a few kilometers from here, we are fine, but the situation gets worse every day. The Valley of the Orontes river is almost deserted, thousands of people are fleeing from the bombing and many come every day to ask us for food and water, they sleep under olive trees and in the fields in the area, outdoors, with nothing!” This is what Fr. Hanna Jallouf wrote to us. He is one of the last two religious men remaining in Knaye, in the province of Idlib where the Syrian government army has been bombing the last jihadist stronghold of Jabhat Al-Nusra in northern Syria for days.

According to Fr. Hanna this is the showdown, the last battle of an area that has been oppressed for more than eight years of abuse and violence. This action though risks turning into a massacre and is already causing a new emergency: more than 180,000 people are fleeing the area according to UN sources.

“We live on a knife blade – Fra Hanna says again – everything is in short supply and what is found is too expensive”. For this reason, together with Brother Hanna and Father Louay, the Association pro Terra Sancta continues the efforts to bring aid to the families of Knaye and the neighboring village of Yacoubieh, communities that have lived eight years under jihadist oppression and are now facing a further proof.

Supporting their presence there is fundamental, because “remaining – says the Franciscan – is our mission”. And he concludes: “Each of us has a task in life, a mission to carry on to the end, ours has been this since the time of Saint Paul: that of staying here to bring the Lord’s hope to all. And those who remained with us remained to tell the whole world that those who trust in the Lord can face everything, without running away. This is our testimony ”.