ASIA/SYRIA - Mortar shells against the Melkite Archbishopric of Aleppo; Bishop Jeanbart : "Yes to the truce"

Friday, 20 September 2013

Aleppo ( Agenzia Fides) - In a "besieged" Aleppo, the conflict also affects churches. As reported to Fides Agency by Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, last night "two mortar shells damaged the seat of our Greek - Catholic archbishopric: there are no victims only because the shots were fired at night". The Archbishop says: "The city is strangled and the situation is worsening day by day. As citizens we feel trapped, and do not know what our fate will be. We have a short supply of goods or prices are very high, people have problems concerning their daily subsistence".
This is why, continues the Archbishop, "the faithful continue to flee, the exodus continues and one sees the effects even on the coasts of the European nations". "For two years we have been offering consolation to the faithful, moral support, but the more time passes, the more difficult it is to persuade them to stay", he says. "Yet we Christians in Syria have a mission: that of dialogue, peace, reconciliation, to keep a light of faith, hope and charity. And we want to live up to this mission".
But to do so, the weapons must be silent. Today, in an interview with the British newspaper "Guardian", the Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said, on behalf of his government, that "the situation has stalled, since neither the regime nor the armed opposition are able to prevail" and launches a proposal for a "cease- fire and the start of a peaceful political process". The proposal is welcomed by the Syrian Church: "We are certainly in favor of a truce, anything useful to put an end to violence and promote a peaceful solution", Mgr. Jeanbart said to Fides. "If there were a commitment by the warring parties to silence the weapons, it would be a ray of hope". The point is that "today there are a myriad of uncontrollable armed groups", he explains . According to information gathered by Fides, both groups of jihadist militants and the militias of pro regime "Shabiha" are out of control and it is difficult to ensure an effective truce on the ground. However, "the international community has a duty to try to put an end to the immense suffering endured by the Syrian people who have been living in this situation for two and a half years ", concludes the Archbishop. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/09/2013)