ASIA/SYRIA - Bishop Audo: clashes at the power plant. Aleppo at risk of environmental catastrophe

Friday, 8 November 2013

Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - "For three days there has been no electricity in the center of Aleppo. There have been clashes at the power plant in al-Harrarieh, and there is very dangerous situation because hazardous materials are located in that area". This is what the Chaldean bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo told Fides Agency.
In past days, the Islamist militias of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) attcked the power plant of al-Harrarieh, which uses hydrogen for the cooling down of water. If the hydrogen systems were bombarded, the consequences would be catastrophic within a radius of at least 20 km.
Bishop Audo describes Aleppo as a "disfigured and exhausted city. One can see the suffering in the eyes of its inhabitants. They have been living in this state of continuous war attrition for almost three years. There is no work, everyone is impoverished.
As Caritas Syria (Bishop Audo is the president) we distribute food and medicine, assist the elderly, pay rents for the displaced, we carry out school activities. Ninety percent of our pastoral energy is absorbed by this work of social emergency. But it is never enough".
With regards to the conflict, the new element compared to the past - says the Chaldean bishop - "is that now we do not understand who is fighting whom. There is the government army, and then there are the Kurdish brigades, Islamists, gangs of outlaws, those who call themselves 'Free Syrian Army', all factions fighting each other. In the city we hear the sounds of fighting and explosions, but we do not know what is really happening. Although among the population the impression that there has been a change at a geo-political level prevails".
In the last hours, the armed forces loyal to Assad have re-conquered large sections of the so-called "base 80", in charge of security of the international airport of Aleppo, which had been in the hands of anti-regime militia since last February. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 08/11/2013)