11/28/2022, 20.53
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Archbishop Nassar hopes Advent might cast a light on the Syrian people’s silent ordeal

The Maronite archbishop of Damascus talks about the suffering of people forgotten by the international community. Their faces are sad, worried, melancholic, and anguished. A UN report warns of "catastrophic risks” ahead of winter. The UN has raised  so far only 42 per cent of the funds needed to help at least six million people at risk.


Damascus (AsiaNews) – The Syrian people have endured an “interminable calvary” for 12 years, forced “into silence” despite long cries of pain caused by war, but also economic and health crises that are akin to a “poverty bomb”, this according to Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus who wrote to AsiaNews on the occasion of Advent.

This silence “says much about the suffering of the heart”, writes the prelate. Forgotten by the international community, they face more pain, death and destruction as fighting continues intermittently and the prospect of a Turkish ground invasion looms large.

“Whilst listening to this silence it is possible to read on people’s sad faces just what they are suffering,” the prelate adds.

"A melancholy look" has replaced “their former joy in life and shows all the weight they are carrying with this never-ending crisis.”

Their “worried look [. . .] reflects the different shortages – of fuel, of electricity, of bread, of medicines, of gas, of petrol – and the time they are obliged to queue for things 24/24.”

To this is added “A look of uncertainty: thinking about the lost future, all the blockades, and the indifference of the world which appears to have forgotten Syria.”

On their faces one can also see “A look of worry of the future caused by the dispersion of families to the four corners of the world, ready to be drowned on these paths of exodus.”

Last but not least, “A look of distress” is sculpted on their face as a result of “the fall in value of the local money, inflation, rise in prices, a rapid lack of available jobs or work, poverty and suffering which has no foreseeable end.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for Syria, El Mostafa Benlamlih, and the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Muhannad Hadi, have warned of catastrophic risks to vulnerable Syrians as winter conditions set in across the country, bringing rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.

The 2022 Syria Humanitarian Response Plan has received only 42 per cent of the requested funds. Additional funding is urgently required to deliver life-saving winter assistance for six million people.

The most vulnerable groups include internally displaced persons (IDPs), seniors, people with pre-existing medical conditions or special needs, families with children with severe disabilities and female-headed households.

Of the six million people in need 2.5 million are in the north-west of the country.

Currently, the majority of Syria’s population cannot afford essential items, including those who are living in camps.

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