10/07/2019, 14.12
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Ankara set to invade Syria. Bishop Nassar: In children the tragedy of war:

by Samir Nassar*

Turkish troops are about to launch an impressive offensive east of the Euphrates. The Kurdish JPG forces are the real target, heroes of the battle against the Islamic State. Green light from Washington. Maronite Archbishop of Damascus: A childhood of anguish, bitterness and concern.

Damascus (AsiaNews) - Turkey is ready to launch a massive militant offensive "to the east of the Euphrates", with the aim of creating a safe area in the north of the country and favoring the return - on a voluntary basis - of Syrian refugees today across the border . But the real target of the Ankara troops - which seems to have received the go-ahead from the United States, which will soon begin operations for its own withdrawal - are the Kurdish forces of the JPG, protagonists of the fight against the Islamic State (SI, ex Isis ) alongside the US.

This morning President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he no longer tolerated "the threats of terrorist groups" [read the Kurds] and "he will soon move within Syrian territory". The words of the Ankara leader come at the end of a meeting with the White House tenant, during which the operation was discussed. In this regard, Donald Trump pointed out that "US forces will not support, nor will they be involved in the operation and US troops will no longer be in the immediate vicinity."

Following the offensive of the Damascus army - supported by the Russian ally - on Idlib, the last stronghold of rebel groups and jihadists in the country, the announced Ankara military operation risks opening a new front, exacerbating the humanitarian emergency . A situation that worries humanitarian and human rights organizations, while international diplomacy struggles towards the end-of-month meeting of the new Constitutional Committee.

On the drama of the Syrian population, and the consequences for children, the first victims of the conflict, AsiaNews spoke with the Maronite archbishop of Damascus, Msgr. Samir Nassar. Here's what he wrote to us:

Troubled eyes.

The Syrian drama is read in its full extent in the eyes of children, which reflect such a harsh and bitter experience.

These children, born and raised during the war, tell us many things about the brutal ordeal they have been forced to endure. For nine years now, with little or almost no help.

Before the start of the violence, in 2011, Syrian children looked to life with great joy and hope: now the same faces express anguish, bitterness and concern.

Anguish: before the death of parents, friends and neighbors. The continuous destabilization of daily life and the continuing waves of forced exodus. Anxiety in the face of enormous violence without mercy and daily instability.

Bitterness: in the eyes of children, in front of the indifference of the whole world, forgetfulness, abandonment. The absolute lack of solidarity, in the face of misery and enormous poverty. Bitterness thinking about ruined schools, the collapse of the educational system that suffocates the dreams of these children.

Concern: facing the extreme uncertainty for the future, the lack of prospects, the multiplication of social problems that break families already fragile in themselves and weakened by the economic crisis, the lack of future prospects. For the marginalization of those among the poorest on earth. What remains of their future?

What can we do to bring smiles back to those children's faces? How can we heal their wounds and allow these pure hearts to forget the nightmares of such a cruel war? Perhaps we should tell them to kill their hope, poor innocent souls?

This question becomes a priority, which all people of good will must face and try to solve. To this, we must add a true pedagogy of forgiveness, to ensure a real reconciliation and forgiveness between all the parties.

"Let the children come to me ..." Mt 191.14.

* Maronite Archbishop of Damascus

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