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October 29 2015

Andrea Riccardi on Syria: "Let's help Aleppo to survive"

The founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio again raises his appeal “Save Aleppo” for humanitarian corridors and civilians' protection: “Impose peace in the name of those who suffer.”

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The news that we are receiving these days from the martyred city of Aleppo speaks of a city devastated by fighting and bombings. Aleppo and the nearby villages are a battlefield between the regime forces, the Free Syrian Army, Isis and the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG).
The escalation of the fighting is forcing thousands of civilians to flee from the area and to find shelter south of the city. Approximately 70,000 inhabitants have been forced to leave the region in the past week, it is estimated.

The humanitarian situation in the old city is of great concern. The fighting between Isis and the regime along the Khanasser–Athrayya axis has severed the connection between the city and the other areas controlled by Damascus, with the interruption of supplies for the population. The situation is made even worse by the cutting off of water and electricity supplies since eight days already.

Violence is not sparing the Christian quarters and places of worship. Five days ago, in Azizieh, a shell hit the Catholic Church during Mass. The dome miraculously withstood the impact, thereby saving the lives of the large congregation of the faithful.

The efforts of international diplomacy to date have not been sufficient to save Aleppo.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, declared on 28 September:" Four years of diplomatic paralysis on the part of the Security council have allowed the Syrian crisis to get out of control. The parties involved in the Syrian conflict are mainly responsible for this paralysis; however, it is not sufficient to look inside the countries of the Middle East to find a solution; the war is also being conducted by powers and regional rivalries.”

As the international community meets, these very days, in Vienna, facing the heavy suffering and agony of a city once the symbol of the harmonious co-existence of different peoples and religions, I again forcefully direct my appeal to the attention of all:  #SaveAleppo. When I originally launched this appeal on 22 June 2014, I did so with these words, which are even more valid today: "To save Aleppo will take more than  mere partisan statements!  Humanitarian corridors and supplies for the civilians must be organized". We remain convinced that "we must impose peace in the name of those who suffer", and we must rebuild a future for this city, the historical crossroad of so many peoples and the place of a millennial co-existence between Muslims and Christians. We must help Aleppo to survive: quickly and with firm conviction.


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