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Rome Reports

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Syrian War begins its ninth year

The Syrian war does not fill front pages or headlines, even though the violence in the country does not stop. The most recent upsurges of the conflict are taking place in the Baghouz enclave, where the last stronghold of the Islamic State remains. The battle has caused almost 20,000 displaced in just a few weeks, many relatives of the jihadists. It has also revealed new horrors of a war entering its ninth year.

Horrors like slavery to which thousands of women and girls, mostly Yazidis, have been subjected to by terrorists. Many have been released and are at home. Thousands are still missing.

The eight years of the Syrian war have cost almost half a million lives, while almost 100,000 remain missing. Along the way, more than 2 million people have been wounded and mutilated. To these figures are the more than six million Syrians, who fled their country to save their own lives, and the four million Syrian children who do not know what it is to live in peace.

Behind each of these numbers there is a human tragedy that organizations like Caritas or Aid to the Church in Need have tried to alleviate in these eight years.

In December, the pope joined in a campaign with the pontifical foundation to ask for peace in Syria. It is a country where Christians, in addition to suffering the war, have also been the object of persecution.

“Let us pray and help Christians to remain in Syria and the Middle East as witnesses of mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.”

Although several Syrian cities have returned to normal, international powers are still developing a “third world in parts” in a country exhausted by the conflict, in which almost 80 percent of its population is on the threshold of poverty.