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Pope Francis

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Easy targets: Christians in Syria's largest city

2015-05-08

The civil war in Syria has been raging for more than four years, and much of the country has been destroyed by violence. Humanitarian aid organizations are a lifeline to the millions of Syrians who have been unable to leave their country.

Pascal Bedros is a Lebanese architect who formerly worked for Caritas Syria. With the help of  the Focolare Movement he is trying to lift a nation that´s been devastated by war. 

The first priority for most people is simply staying alive, he says. Even people in neighborhoods relatively far from the front lines live in fear.

PASCAL BEDROS
Former Caritas Syria Director
"When you walk on the streets, you are in danger. Not because somebody will come and maybe kill you, but because of the bombs that can come from the other part. So there's a tension.”

According to the United Nations, more than 220,000 people have been killed during the war. For those who survived, other challenges remain.

PASCAL BEDROS
Former Caritas Syria Director
"We don't have electricity or water. We have one hour of electricity every 24 hours. And water we have once for two or three hours a week.”

He added that while more people are resuming their education, militias sometime target schools and many parents are afraid to let their children attend.

Christians face a whole new set of challenges. 
Other Muslim groups are also targeted. 

PASCAL BEDROS
Former Caritas Syria Director
"The Christians live in the center of Aleppo, which is near the front lines. So they are targeted easily. And they fear for themselves.”

The war has taken its toll on the country's people and infrastructure. It has also damaged its history.  Many of the places destroyed during the war were ancient and historical. But Bedros says that for many people, hope is still alive.

PASCAL BEDROS
Former Caritas Syria Director
"But what gives me hope is to see how Syrians continue, and Christians particularly, to believe even though they see all this hate going on. They believe that there is a way to construct, to continue.”

Caritas operates in six regions of Syria. It primarily provides food and housing aid, but also helps with medical and non-food aid.


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