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!

share facebook twitter google pinterest print send
related stories


“At least 40 shells in Damascus today. Hundreds wounded”: updates from Ayham, ATS pro Terra Sancta, on the ongoing tragedy (February 2018)

Aleppo: mending wounds of the little Syrians (February 2018)

Recalling Christmas: The precious gift of the Franciscans to the children of Aleppo (January 2018)

Faith, Hope and Charity in Aleppo. Last stop of our trip to Syria (November 2017)

Oasis of charity in Damascus. First stop of our trip to Syria (November 2017)

New Homes for Aleppo (November 2017)

Aleppo: “We have to rebuild everything, but we are not alone” (October 2017)

Updates from Syria: “We’re going back home, but it is not over yet!” (August 2017)

Witnesses from Syria: Sister Iole, missionary of hope in Damascus (May 2017)

Six years of war in Syria and the tireless efforts of ATS pro Terra Sancta alongside the population (March 2017)

The rising of Aleppo (February 2017)

In Damascus the Franciscans Keep Their Doors Open (February 2017)

Aleppo is free but a real peace is still far away (December 2016)

The Franciscan church in Damascus hit by a mortar shell. Association pro Terra Sancta at the side of the Custody of the Holy Land (November 2016)

Syria: The Association pro Terra Sancta relaunches the appeal for peace made by the Franciscan Order (October 2016)

War in Aleppo: updates from the friars in Syria (August 2016)

“Love is the First Commandment”: The Witness of the Summer Camp of Aleppo (July 2016)

Bombs and missiles hit the Terre Sainte College! (May 2016)

War and hope in Aleppo, the city that knows no truce (May 2016)