Priest in Syria: Just as Europe was reborn after World War II, we will recover

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Fr. Nawras Sammour was born in Syria, in Aleppo. For years, he helped refugees from Iraq, but he never imagined that one day he would also have to help refugees from his own country. It's a situation that began seven years ago. The end is still unknown.

Jesuit Refugee Service in Middle East
“I would say in Syria today the common word is 'uncertainty.' Although the situation, in terms of security, is better, much better, roads are secure, the biggest cities are secure etc. but there's still uncertainty. We don't know, we don't know, but we hope for peace.”

Today, he runs the Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria and Iraq. Until recently, their main task was to deal with emergencies. However, now they are promoting projects to rebuild the region and be able to start again. 

Jesuit Refugee Service in Middle East
“You know, all wars are difficult. I mean nobody would tell, for example, after the Second World War here in Europe, that Europe would have a future. Now, look at Europe. I mean you are united, no clashes, no differences, no problems. So we hope that for Syria, we hope having always one Syria, united Syria, not divided, inclusive for everybody Muslims, Christians, different Muslim communities, different Christian communities, different cultures different ethnicity etc. etc. We hope that, yes.”

He says that more than helping, he has felt assisted more by the gestures of the people he has come across over the years. One example is a family he met, who over a period of four days, distributed clothes to 1,500 children.

Jesuit Refugee Service in Middle East
“The fourth day there was a lady with two kids, we gave the clothes to the kids and it finished. The very next day, we received a visit from that lady with her husband and kids with the new clothes. They came over with a cake to offer to our staff. Out of almost 1,000 families only that lady, that family, they came over to say thank you to our organization, a Catholic organization and it was a Muslim family.”

He dreams that the war in his country will soon be over. He also says that there will be neither a winner nor a loser, because at this point everyone has already lost.

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