It was 15 March 2011. At that time, the Middle East lived a new hope brought by the Arab Springs, when a series of demonstrations against the regime of Bashar Al Assad rushed Syria into chaos. Today the numbers of a war that seems to have no end speak for themselves. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, from 15 March 2011 in Syria between 310,000 and 440,000 people were killed: of these almost 100,000 civilians, including nearly 20,000 children and 10,000 women. The displaced are around 11.5 million (almost ‘half of the Syrian population before the war); 6.5 million of these are still in Syria while the other five are scattered in refugee camps in Turkey (2.7 million), Iraq (230,000), Lebanon (1.1 million) and Jordan (660,000).
In these days recurs the sixth anniversary of a war that caused so many stories of suffering, some mixed with hope.
This hope is brought to everyone every day, by the tireless presence of the Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land who have always remained in these lands despite everything. The Franciscans tirelessly bring hope also through numerous activities.
First, they help and support the poorest, through the distribution of food parcels and essential goods, the distribution of water from mechanical wells and the distribution of diesel for electricity and heating. There are also health interventions and supply of medicines, support for hospitals and educational works and restructuring, where possible of what has been destroyed.
In these six long years of war we as Association of Pro Terra Sancta, alongside the Franciscan friars, have never left the population. We will continue as long as it takes, to stay at the side of the people and to help the Franciscans in the preservation of the Holy Places, in order to keep hope alive even where there seems to be no more.