08/19/2016, 16.45
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For Nuncio in Damascus, children's eyes are the mirror of the atrocities committed in Syria

Since August, areas under siege have not received any aid. UN official calls for a halt to Aleppo bombing. The image of a child rescued from the rubble is the image of the Syrian conflict. For Mgr Zenari, there is “no light at the end of the tunnel”. A deal on “humanitarian aid” is crucial.

Damascus (AsiaNews) – The situation is Syria is “becoming hotter and hotter” with “no light at the end of the tunnel,” said Mgr Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio in Damascus.

In fact, “violence has escalated” in recent weeks, making the terms of the conflict that much worse. This confirms warnings coming from the Arab country, ravaged by "five and a half years of bloody conflict".

"One always hopes to see an end to violence,” the prelate explained, “but all one sees instead is the war intensify.” 

The UN special envoy for Syria Staffan Mistura said that the UN task force has been forced to suspend its humanitarian work because ongoing shelling and bombing were hampering aid distribution. He called for a truce of 48 hours, mainly in Aleppo, which has become the main battleground in the conflict.

The top UN official seems powerless against the humanitarian catastrophe that is unfolding in northern Syria’s main city, once the country’s economic and commercial hub. At present, hundreds of fighters are expected for the upcoming "pitched battle".

Still, Russia appears to have heeded de Mistura’s appeal. Russian defence Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said that Moscow was ready to support the proposal for a cease-fire by the UN’s special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, starting next week, “to supply the population of the city with food and medical items and restore life-support systems.”

War broke out in Syria in March 2011 after popular protests against President Bashar al-Assad turned into a generalised conflict that opened the door to Islamic extremists and jihadist movements.

As a result, at least 250,000 people have been killed and one of the worst humanitarian crises in history has unfolded with 11 million refugees.

In the aftermath of the war in Syria, a new Moscow-Tehran-Beijing axis has emerged to counter US ambitions in the Middle East with the Syrian people paying the price for the clash of big power interests.

So far this month, no humanitarian aid has reached areas under siege and the food, water and energy crises is getting worse.

The latest image of the Syrian conflict is that of a five-year-old child (pictured), Omran Daqneesh, who appears in a video shot in Aleppo.

After being brought out from a bombed building, he is seen sitting an orange chair, staring into the void without a cry or groan. For thousands of people who shared the photo on social media his eyes are the symbol of the conflict.

"The suffering of children are those who strike our attention the most,” Mgr Zenari said. “Even the pope in his appeal in the Angelus of 7 August mentioned the unarmed civilian population, particularly children who are among the most innocent victims. Since the beginning of the war, 14,000 children and minors they have died in the conflict."

For the Vatican diplomat, the priority is "the delivery of humanitarian aid" but the situation is alarming. "I refer to de Mistura’s words who said that no humanitarian convoy has been able to enter the areas under siege,” the prelate noted.

Everyone is hoping that "violence will diminish and more aid will come through," but on the ground, there is nothing by "an escalation of violence."

"We continue to make appeals for peace, for an end to violence,” the prelate said, “but they go unanswered, powerless, falling on too many deaf ears.” However, it is important to continue to talk about the suffering "of a country and a people battered" by “five and a half years of war”.

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