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    » 02/22/2012, 00.00

    SYRIA

    Threatened by violence, Christians flee Syria, says Aleppo archbishop



    Mgr Audo urges Catholics to pray for peace and the reconciliation of the Syrian people. Caritas gives food and basic necessities to 500 Christian and Muslim families in Homs, the city most affected by the civil war. Two Western journalists are killed in Homs' Baba Amr district.

    Aleppo (AsiaNews) - "Christians are the minority most threatened by Syria's civil war and are trying to flee the country. They feel defenceless against the escalation of violence that has raged in the country for months. Pray for peace and the reconciliation of the Syrian people!" Mgr Antoine Audo, Caldean archbishop of Aleppo, told AsiaNews.

    "We Christians are the weakest psychologically and in terms of self-defence," the prelate explained. "For us, fleeing is our only salvation, like in other Middle Eastern countries, especially Iraq. All this does serious harm to the Church and the Christian presence in Syria."

    Reiterating the call for dialogue launched by the pope in the Angelus of 12 February, Mgr Audo noted that, despite their fear, Christians can be a bridge between the various warring factions.

    "Our presence united around the Church helps Christians and Muslims work together for the good of the country, pushing towards reconciliation rather than vengeance."

    The prelate cited the work by Caritas Syria, which has began an aid programme in Homs, one of the cities most affected by the violence, on behalf of 500 families, 400 Christian and 100 Muslim. In six months, each household will receive foot and basic necessities worth US$ 600.

    Caritas is also actively helping senior citizens and the sick through its volunteers, who are drawn from Aleppo's entire Christian community in.

    Meanwhile, two foreign journalists, Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin and freelance French photo-reporter Rémi Ochlik, were killed in Homs' Baba Amr district. The two were in a building used by rebels as a communications centre when it came under shellfire from Syrian security forces. After it took a direct hit, it collapsed. (S.C.)

     

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    See also

    23/02/2012 SYRIA
    The 'Friends of Syria' expected to meet tomorrow in Tunis
    The Arab League, the European Union and the United States are represented at the conference. Although invited, Russia and China will be absent. Homs is shelled for the 20th consecutive day. According to opposition sources, Syrian security forces deliberately targeted the building where two journalists were killed yesterday.

    15/06/2011 SYRIA – TURKEY
    Giant pro-Assad rally in Damascus, bishop says 80 per cent of the people behind him
    A 2.3-kilometre flag is carried through the streets of the capital. Syria’s Red Crescent society and its Turkish counterpart organise the repatriation of thousands of refugees who crossed into Turkey following the attack against Jisr al-Shughour. Syrian authorities announce a “limited” military operation against Maraat an-Numan.

    24/05/2013 SYRIA
    Assad "maybe" open to dialogue. In Aleppo young Christians offer their lives for the poor
    The President will participate in "principle" at peace conference in Geneva on June 10, proposed by Russia and the United States. So far, the opposition has not responded. The Syrian National Coalition increasingly divided between diplomacy and armed struggle. Bishop Audo, the Chaldean bishop speaks of the silent work of the Church of Aleppo. The faith of the young and their selfless help to the poor and displaced people are the real hope for the reconstruction of Syria.

    18/06/2013 LEBANON - SYRIA
    Beirut: appeal for Catholic-Orthodox unity and an end to the war in Syria
    The synods of the Melkite Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches got underway today in Lebanon. As the bishops pray for Mgrs Bouls Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim, abducted on 22 April, Gregory III Laham, patriarch of Antioch, criticises the Western decision to send weapons to the rebels. For the bishops, Christians in Syria and Lebanon have a duty to bear witness to the Gospel with their lives. This is the true "political action" and duty that every believer must undertake. The Melkite Church plans to set up a solidarity committee in Syria to help the needy and rebuild destroyed or damaged churches.

    09/08/2011 SYRIA
    The Pope's appeal and the fears of Christians in Syria
    The nightmare is that Syria will become another Iraq, which explains why many Christian leaders seem to support the regime of President Assad. Benedict XVI's call for dialogue and renunciation of violence by both sides was not reported in Syrian media.



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