“We woke up with the horrible sounds of heavy bullets shooting in the streets around us, terrifying and intimidating all the neighbourhood people in their homes… Some snipers among them were able to reach a roof of a building and started shooting everywhere… Life is becoming unbearable if such an incident occurs again. It is most likely to be repeated and the worst to come. No one is able to protect us.”
Barnabas Aid partner in Aleppo
The Church in Aleppo, Syria, is making a united effort to help beleaguered Christian residents as fighting rages between government and opposition forces for control of the key battleground city.
A Barnabas Aid partner in Aleppo told us on Tuesday that a predominantly Christian area was the site of a four-hour siege, which started at 5am with heavy gunfire. As clashes intensified, opposition fighters fled to a government school, terrifying local residents.
Scores of people have been killed in Aleppo, which has been beset by intense fighting for nearly three weeks. The northern city is home to a sizeable Christian population, who are preparing for the worst amid escalating violence.
Barnabas Aid is working with a committee comprising representatives from every Christian denomination in the city to coordinate relief efforts among the Christian community.
The committee is identifying church centres and halls that can be used for accommodating Christians who have been forced to flee their homes; details and contact information for these emergency shelters will be announced in churches across the city. They are organising packages of essentials comprising food and hygiene items to be available for those arriving at the centres. And they are also preparing for the event that Christians have to leave the city altogether, as has happened elsewhere in Syria, notably Homs and Qusayr.
In addition to helping Christians in Aleppo, Barnabas Aid is continuing to provide aid to Christians in other parts of Syria as well as those displaced in other countries. A joint assessment carried out by the United Nations and the Syrian government found that around 1.5 million people are in need of urgent and immediate food assistance over the next three to six months, especially in areas worst hit by the 17-month-long uprising.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, said:
As Syria continues to be torn apart by civil war, it is heartening that the Christian community in Aleppo is bearing a united witness in its practical demonstration of the Lord's care for His people. Let us pray that this display of solidarity will make an impact on the warring factions, and that there may yet be a peaceful solution to this dreadful conflict.
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