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World’s churches highlight plight of innocent fleeing violence in Syria

Posted on: October 17, 2019 1:35 PM
Smoke over the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain
Photo Credit: Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] Speaking on behalf of churches across the world, the World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary has called for an end to the violence in north-east Syria as Turkey’s military action puts refugees at risk. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said he was gravely concerned about the humanitarian impact on the people of the region, where reports state tens of thousands of civilians are fleeing from Turkish attacks.

He said: “the Syrian people have already been subjected to too much conflict, and far too much bloodshed, destruction and displacement. The churches of the world demand an end to it – an end to the suffering of the people. Enough fighting, chaos and death. It is time for peace, for respite, for dialogue, and for justice for the victims of atrocities perpetrated through these catastrophic years of violence.”

In addition to those displaced by the fighting, it is expected that as many as two million people will suffer as a result of the military operation’s impact on infra-structure, facilities and services for basic life needs.

The WCC reports that the area under attack includes populations of Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, Arabs and other vulnerable groups that suffered during the years of war. Many have already been displaced multiple times as they fled the fight in other parts of Syria towards the north-east, which had remained relatively secure and stable. But now even this refuge is being turned into a battlefield by the Turkish operation.

The continued violence will also affect the UN-led political process, and the recently resumed national dialogue in Syria through the Constitutional Committee.

WCC has been working throughout the years of the Syrian conflict to promote and facilitate dialogue and mutual solidarity between representatives of disparate sectors of Syrian society, and to promote peace, justice and equal rights for all Syrians.

The Diocese of Jerusalem says on its website that due to continued violence and civil unrest in Damascus and Aleppo, all churches there have been closed down for the unforeseeable future. They ask for prayer for the congregations and the people of Syria and for peace in their region.