» 04/04/2013, 00.00
SYRIA - LEBANON
In Syria, some 300,000 Christian refugees also fleeing from UN camps
In Syria, Christians are neutral and do not want to be used for photo ops. The United Nations, however, automatically registers them as members of the opposition. The head of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) appeals on behalf of 1,200 families currently helped only by the Church and generous families.
Beirut (AsiaNews) - More
than 300,000 Christians have fled their villages and towns to escape the war,
but also UN refugee camps, said Issam Bishara, regional director of the
Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and
Speaking to AsiaNews, he said that none of the
displaced families is in UN refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan, where displaced
people are registered as rebels and used for photo ops.
"In Lebanon, about 1,200
families have found shelter with friends or relatives," Bishara said. In fact,
most Christians are not on the lists of the High Commissioner for the UN
Refugee Agency (UNHCR). They refuse to be identified as part of the mostly
Christians prefer to be
neutral, above the conflict between Muslim rebels and Bashar al-Assad's Alawis.
For this reason, they have been surviving without any substantial aid from
major donors like the UNHCR and the Red Cross. Still, "They they need
everything," Bishara explained. "The only support they get is from CNEWA."
Most Christian families
who fled to Lebanon belong to the Armenian Catholic Church in Aleppo or the Greek
Catholic community in Homs and Qasayr.
Some 500 Armenian Catholic
families found refuge with the Christian communities in Bourj Hammoud near
Some 550 Greek Catholic
families from Al-Quasyr and Homs fled to Zhale and Qaa in the Bekaa Valley
where Caritas Lebanon and other Christian organisations are active.
Bkerke, the seat of the
Maronite Patriarchate, opened its doors to 75 families Syro-Catholic families
from Homs. Another 75 Syriac Orthodox families settled in Ajaltoun convent on Mount
However, as time goes
by, "host families do not have enough resources to help Syrian refugees," the CNEWA
director noted. By contrast, "requests are increasing day by day. Soon no one
will be able to afford even the most basic aid."
After two years of
turmoil, the conflict between the regime and the opposition has turned into a full-blown
civil war. Army deserters and Islamist militants have formed armed groups that
have been able to take on Bashar al-Assad's forces.
The clash between Alawis
and Sunnis has attracted fighters from the Middle East and North Africa. Even
Europeans are said to be fighting with jihadist movements active in the area.
Christians in Syria
fear they might suffer the fate of Iraqi Christian communities that have become
the target of Islamic extremists.
Since 2003, Islamists have
targeted minority Christians with murder, attacks and various forms of discrimination,
forcing hundreds of thousands of families to leave their country forever.
As a cautious calm prevails in Tripoli, casualties from local Sunni-Alawi clashes are counted
Death toll reaches 23 with 167 wounded. As life goes on, schools are closed and soldiers patrol the streets. Fuelling fears of Syrian involvement, National News Agency reports Syrian troops fired on a Lebanese army patrol.
23/08/2012 LEBANON - SYRIA
As the Syrian crisis spreads to Lebanon, violence in Tripoli claims 13 lives
For days, the city has seen violent clashes between Sunnis and pro-Assad Alawis. Yesterday's truce is breached. Lebanese troops are deployed to bring calm. At least, 67 people have been killed in Damascus and other Syrian cities in this morning's shelling.
17/07/2013 SYRIA - LEBANON
For Caritas Lebanon, the tragedy of Syrian refugees is "worsening day by day"
The United Nations has described the Syrian tragedy as "the worst humanitarian crisis since the genocide in Rwanda." This echoes Caritas Lebanon, which told AsiaNews that "the situation in the border areas continues to worsen: epidemics in refugee camps and escalating sectarian clashes."
12/03/2016 13:39:00 LEBANON – SYRIA
IS threatens Lebanese Christians, Hezbollah, as Arab League declares the latter a “terrorist” group
In a video, IS calls on Christians to convert to Islam, urges Sunnis to rise up and impose Islamic law on Lebanon. Hezbollah, which is fighting the al-Nusra Front and IS in Syria, is declared a terrorist group. Arab League and Arab Gulf States also condemn "terrorist" Hezbollah. Riyadh is accused of supporting extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. Iran warns against putting Lebanon’s stability at risk.
30/03/2016 19:52:00 LEBANON - SYRIA
Caritas Lebanon: Easter solidarity in a country in the grip of an economic, political and social crisis
Christians joyfully celebrated the festivity in an atmosphere of growing misery and hardships. The refugee emergency has reached unsustainable levels and "aid is no longer sufficient." During Lent, the Christian charity provided medical care and treatments, and handed out food parcels. For Fr Paul, the international community must stop “the war and the arms trade".
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
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