In recent months winds of war have resumed blowing violently in northern Syria: in the northwest the army of Damascus fights the last jihadist resistance, while since the beginning of October the Turks have invaded the Kurdish area to the northeast. And despite the bombastic news with a flavor of propaganda announcing important achievements on the diplomatic level or the success of operations such as the killing of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Caliph of ISIS, chaos reigns in the northern provinces.
Needless to say – we have repeated it many times – that those who pay the very high consequences of this nine-year tragedy are the common people who struggle to survive for the war where they are still fighting and for a peace that does not offer much more than rubble and hunger, in places where bombs no longer fall.
This is why the testimony of one of the last two remaining religious Christians in Knaye and Yacoubieh, two villages in the province of Idlib in the north east of Syria, has been particularly striking in these days:
“We are a small boat in a sea of slanders. We almost never go out, because there is the risk of being robbed or even abducted. We are subjected to continuous violence and continually we are persecuted and slandered. Jesus says “Blessed are you when they persecute you and say every evil against you” and this is really a consolation and a certainty for us in the midst of all the violence. The bombs continue to fall around us, in this endless clash between government forces and the remaining jihadists. Recently they have imprisoned three members of the community on false charges and we do not know if they will be subjected to a fair trial or if they will ask us for large sums for the ransom. Because under jihadist control, anarchy reigns.
Despite this, we will soon start some activities to prepare for Christmas, the feast of the only hope that sustains us. With children we started preparing cribs to give to each of the 250 families in the community, while with the boys we will prepare a concert for the day after Christmas. We cannot show anything outside, we cannot exhibit decorations, but every house will have its crib and each of us will prepare in his heart for the party. In addition to the activities in the parish, we will give each family a more substantial food package than those we already distribute and a small financial contribution to help. This was possible thanks to your help, because we cannot receive any more support at the moment. Your help and your prayers allow us to survive in this endless tragedy “.
It is essential for us to continue to support the two Franciscans and the communities of Knaye and Yacoubieh, who do not receive any other kind of support and are in tribulation.