A call to prayer on ninth anniversary of Syria’s civil war

Meysam Azarneshin Adobe Stock news bannerThe province of Idlib is the last stronghold of the rebel groups that have been trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad since 2011.

Since December 2019, it has been reported that more than 900,000 people have fled their homes in the area. The Syrian government and its allies are also said to have dropped more than 157 bombs on the province in one day.

For the ninth anniversary of the start of Syrian civil war, which takes place on 15 March, Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) which serves the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Church in Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, and the Methodist Church, reflects on the fact that while Europe is worrying about a new wave of refugees, a humanitarian crisis around the city of Idlib is going largely unreported.

In his blog, Steve writes:

“Many came to Idlib from other parts of Syria when the area was relatively safe.  Now shells and bombs are raining down on towns and villages and the Syrian army is positioned just five miles outside the city of 3 million people. There is not enough humanitarian aid and in overcrowded camps families have to share tents in groups of 15 to 20. Yet still people are streaming out of the city of Idlib in what has become one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes of the nine-year war.

(ignore it’s just like this so the video pops up when posted online)

“With camps full some have taken to extraordinary lengths to find shelter.  In the film, you can see Abu Ahmed and his family carve a cave out of rock in the mountains.  He describes how he was forced to flee when 90% of his village was destroyed by the advancing Syrian army.

“On 5 March a ceasefire was agreed between Turkish government forces and those of the Syrian and Russian goverments. But the Syrian government is determined to oust the Jihadi group, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, that for the past year has controlled the city of Idlib. How could there possibly be any adequate humanitarian response if in the coming days there were to be a battle for the city of Idlib?”

Read the blog in full, and a prayer written by the Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference, 2019-2020, here.

 

Picture: A homeless girl walking among the ruins of a destroyed city that has been bombed. Meysam Azarneshin/Adobe Stock.
Published: 12 March 2020