Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - The suburbs of Aleppo, in the hands of rebel forces, have been for days under the bombing of government aviation. According to various sources, the military offensive has already caused more than two hundred deaths. "In the meantime – says the Jesuit Antoine Audo, Chaldean Bishop of the metropolis of Syria to Fides Agency - "in the central areas of the city, mortar fire coming from the outlying areas in the hands of the rebels continue, and continue to cause casualties. Sometimes we hear from afar the thunder of the bombing of the army, but we do not have reliable information with regards to the effects of that offensive. The power shortages do not allow you to connect to the internet or watch television. And of course there are no newspapers".
Bishop Audo describes a contradictory situation, where there are tragic events and the desire for normality, and testimony of redemption and hope: "I have just finished a meeting of coordination with surgeons who have decided to remain in order to assist people across the city who need surgical operations. The work of Caritas continues, and also the pastoral initiatives in view of Christmas. Last week I started a Bible study, and there were more than fifty children. It seems an incredible contradiction. But we try to encourage our Christian people to live concrete initiatives that are also a strong sign of the will not to give up, to continue to hope even in the absurd situation in which we find ourselves. We will not carry out the Christmas vigil at night for security reasons. The liturgical celebration will take place in the afternoon". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 20/12/2013)