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Church \ Church in Middle East

Caritas: we need to overcome indifference to starving Syrians

A toddler said to be photographed in Madaya on January 5, 2016. Warnings of starvation are growing as pro-government forces besiege an opposition-held town in Syria. - REUTERS

A toddler said to be photographed in Madaya on January 5, 2016. Warnings of starvation are growing as pro-government forces besiege an opposition-held town in Syria. - REUTERS

09/01/2016 10:18

(Vatican Radio) Residents of the most isolated and war-ravaged parts of Syria are desperately awaiting the arrival of promised food aid and other emergency supplies. The Syrian government agreed yesterday to allow humanitarian deliveries to some of the most isolated areas. Tens of thousands of people are said to be facing the imminent threat of death by starvation.

Caritas Internationalis has launched an international campaign with its regional partners in the Middle East to pressure the international community to act decisively to bring the nearly five-year-old civil war in Syria to an end.

The General Secretary of Caritas Internationalis, Michel Roy, told us there is real danger of losing sight of the terrible human toll of the conflict.

Listen to Susy Hodges’ interview with Michel Roy:

Caritas Internationalis, together with its colleagues, all agree that Syria is at the heart of a geo-political struggle in which the Syrian people "count for nothing."

"When we met last September we agreed to ask the international community to seek peace," Roy said. "The problem is that the international community will talk about peace but will not include Assad in its talks. This means, according to Roy, that "we go on with the war."

Caritas Internationalis therefore decided to launch a campaign for peace in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East so as to exert pressure on the governments there and around to the world to make sincere, inclusive efforts at a workable peace process. The objective is to overcome international indifference toward the Syrian people. "After five years," says Roy, "war in Syria has become normal."

Roy also reminds listeners that what we cannot forget is that "Daesh" (the so-called Islamic State) was born in Syria and is the same movement that killed so many innocent civilians in the Paris massacre. 

Citing Fr Timothy Radcliffe, Roy states that to end the war we need to allow all Syrians to sit down together. Peace is not going to come from those who have strong financial or geo-political interests in the process, like the US, Russia, arms manufacturers and oil executives.

“Daesh [Islamic State] is comprised of educated people,” Roy says. Such people, he notes, were educated in Europe, worked with Saddam Hussein, and were educated in America. Even if it makes the international community uncomfortable, they need to be included in talks in order to bring an end to the Syrian war.

09/01/2016 10:18