Tuesday, 10 June 2014
What's going on in Syria and what's the Church doing to help?
RomeReports.com says 'Syria's civil war is still raging. But beyond its borders, many are becoming desensitized to the conflict and its violence.
In some Syrian cities, dozens of people are killed every day. In light of this crisis the Vatican is doubling its efforts to help victims. During a recent meeting in Rome, Catholic organizations, who work out on the ground, discussed new strategies to increase support.
MSGR.MARIO ZENARI - Nuncio in Damascus, Syria
"The biggest challenge is the war itself. When there's shooting and crossfire, humanitarian efforts are limited, because workers have to risk their lives to help out. Sometimes the challenge is a mere lack of good will from different groups.”
Twenty five Catholic charitable organizations are helping refugees in neighboring countries and also Syrians who still live in the country. The help is given to all, regardless of religious beliefs. Even though Christians are a minority, some say their presence eases the tension.
MICHEL CONSTANTIN - Director, Catholic Near East Welfare
"When militants from the opposition wanted to get out of the city of Homs, they asked, what guarantee do we have? You see neither side trusted one another. So a Catholic priest, decided to ride the bus with the militants as their guarantee. It was a way to get the city back in order and back to its people. The old city of Homs is mainly inhabited by Christian families. The role of the Christians in the Middle East has always served as bridges between different people who are in conflict.”
It's estimated that about 2 millions refugees have gone to neighboring countries like Lebanon. Roughly 10,000 people cross the border every day to escape the violence and instability. As the war continues, Church groups are looking at the bigger picture, including the sale of weapons in these conflict ridden areas.
MICHEL ROY - Secretary General , Caritas International
"If we want peace, we can't sell arms at the same time. Often in these type of civil wars within countries, it's the international interests that are vested interest from abroad that entertained the world and civilian population are the victims. There are for nothing in that’s but the only ones to die and suffer.”
The Pope of course has been very vocal about his opposition to the war in Syria and itsrippling effects on the Middle East. He warns about a sense of indifference, where the world can get used to the war...a war that according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed the lives of more than 160,000 people.'