March 2018

Syria: Mons. Abou Khazen on the ongoing situation in Damascus

All the media have been talking about it for daysnow: in Damascus, Syria, and in the neighboring area of ​​Al-Ghouta, the struggle between the government army and the Al-Nusra rebels has become terribly bloody. It is the first time that this area experiences such violence in almost seven years of ongoing war. Civilians, including many women and children, are the ones to pay the consequences. Mgr. Abou Khazen, Bishop of the Latins of Aleppo, was in Italy in these days. Here is his witness  on the ongoing drama in the city. Mgr. clarifies some points that do not emerge in the confusion of the media.

Monsignor Abou Khazen can tell us something about what is happening in Damascus these days?

The news is really dramatic. For more than two months the residential areas of Damascus, the capital city of Syria, have been bombed every day causing numerous deaths and injuries. Many young people died because the bombings took place mainly during school leaving hours.

The government therefore has the right and duty to defend its citizens, and now the counteract has begun. The military forces fight jihadist groups that are in the area called Al-Ghouta. Initially, attempts had been made to achieve reconciliation, to let out armed men and civilians from the area. But ISIS, Al-Nusra and other affiliates have always refused and so now the military operation is under way. Obviously, in a context where there are many civilians there are always victims among children, men and women, because civilians that always pay the consequences.

What can we do from here?

I repeat again, as I have always done, that perhaps it is up to the West not to arm these groups anymore, not to help them, but to push all the parties to get together and discuss. Only then they will reach an agreement, even if it is difficult.

The situation is tragic, but it is also possible to give concrete aid to the victims of these days through the support of the Association pro Terra Sancta. The association, together with the Franciscans of the Custody, follows various activities to help the local population, giving shelter, food and medicines to the victims of war, and collaborating with various hospitals to provide care especially to women, children and the elderly: those who suffer more these days in the bloodbath that is being consumed in Damascus.

Help now!

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