ASIA/SYRIA - Armenian Catholic Archbishop Marayati: Christians flee from Aleppo, besieged city

Monday, 19 May 2014

Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - "In recent weeks we have seen a new wave of the exodus of Christians from Aleppo. The families waited for high school to end, then they took their luggage, closed their homes and fled to the coast and to Lebanon, using the only road link with the outside world still viable. Maybe they will come back in four months. Perhaps they will never come back again". This is what the Armenian Catholic Archbishop Boutros Marayati of Aleppo reported to Fides, adding concrete details on the effects of the siege of the city by Syrian anti-Assad militias: "Now the water supply is back, which had been interrupted for more a week", said the Archbishop, "but there is no electricity. When water is distributed, electricity is interrupted and vice versa. The city is under siege and the areas where there are large power stations and water supply lines are all in the hands of the rebels, that open and close the valves to force the regime to negotiate. We do not know what these negotiations aim to reach. We are with the people, and we do not understand very well what is going on around us".
According to the Archbishop, the presidential elections to be held on June 3 end up increasing the sense of uncertainty and fear which is widely spread: "the election campaign has started, but many fear an escalation of violence, particularly in view of the elections. Anything could happen", explains His Excellency Marayati. News from Homs is not even reassuring: "The siege of the government army has prevailed over the rebels, who evacuated the city center", says the Armenian Catholic Archbishop, "but since then gangs have plundered everything they find in houses that are still abandoned, even in the neighborhood where Christians lived". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 19/05/2014)