Marcel and his younger brother Bashar were in their Sunday School class on 12 May 2019 when a rocket, fired by the Islamist rebel group Al-Nusra, struck. Bashar was killed instantly. Marcel was seriously wounded and died of his injuries five days later. The boys’ father was killed three years ago, so their mother Yasmin is now completely on her own.
Three other Sunday School children and a Christian woman were also killed in the same attack as Marcel and Bashar.
The Syrian civil war is not yet over.
When rockets fell like rain
Marcel and Bashar lived in Suqaylabiyah, known as a Christian town, which has been targeted many times during the war.
“Leah”, a dentistry student, is also from Suqaylabiyah, which is north-west of Hama. She recalls how the terrorist armed groups mounted horrific attacks from early 2012, and especially targeted Suqaylabiyah because its Christian inhabitants “were considered infidels and they should be killed”.
Leah had already been kidnapped by rebels in November 2011 and was held for twelve days, only escaping when her captors fled from the advancing Syrian army. Leah remembers 24 April 2016 as a particularly terrible day. She was at church with her family when rebel rockets began to fall heavily. The congregation crouched between the chairs, trying to find cover.
On 7 August that year there was another extra-heavy bombardment – “rockets were falling as rain,” said Leah – and this time their home was hit. The hospital was overflowing with the injured. Leah’s mother collapsed with a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalised too. Her father was at a loss, not knowing what to do. Leah, who had kept strong for so long, started to cry.
The world has forgotten
These are the stories of just two families in just one Syrian town, a town where Christians are still being targeted in a civil war that the world has forgotten.
Many parts of Syria are now at peace, but Syrian Christians have told Barnabas Fund recently that the economic plight of people is even worse than during the long years of conflict. The most vulnerable are families with young children, elderly or disabled members, and female-headed households. They desperately need food, hygiene items, clothes and medication.
A monthly food parcel to help feed a family of five currently costs £20 (US$25; €22).
Will you help our faithful Syrian brothers and sisters in their suffering?
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