SYRIA (ACN News): A senior bishop in Syria has described how the country is “locked in a murderous stalemate” and has told how his people say farewell to one another after Sunday Mass uncertain if they will meet again.
Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus emphasised that the Syrian people were being “subjected to enormous pressures” with economic disaster and conflict spread to almost every town.
In a statement to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Nassar wrote that people were desperate to leave the country but could not obtain visas after the closure of embassies in Damascus.
He also reported how young people in particular felt abandoned to their fate by the outside world, which they felt was not doing enough to help them.
Several thousand people have been killed since protests against the Syrian regime began in March last year.
“Syria appears to be locked in a situation of murderous stalemate,” the archbishop, a Maronite-rite Catholic prelate, said.
“This inescapable situation is stoking the fears of the faithful who say goodbye to each other at the end of each Mass, so uncertain are they of what the future might hold.”
Archbishop Nassar stressed how the most vulnerable in Syria were suffering the most from the conflict which was “paralysing the country”.
“The little (people) are subjected to enormous pressures and sufferings that only grow with the passing of time and the hatred that divides and the poverty that is spreading,” he wrote.
The problems of destruction and displacement caused by war were, he said, compounded by economic crisis most notably economic embargo, inflation, massive currency devaluation and huge unemployment.
“The young people in first-time employment, who have been the victim of mass lay-offs, take a very dim view of this diplomatic embargo which has only made their plight still worse,” Archbishop Nassar said.
“The (young people) think the world no longer wants anything to do with us and is closing the door on us.”
Highlighting the people’s feeling of isolation, the archbishop thanked ACN for its concern and prayers.
“As we enter the season of Lent, we do so in silence, our hands empty, our hearts constricted and our gaze fixed on the risen Christ, who will guide our steps on the path of forgiveness and peace,” he said.
In an introductory message accompanying the statement, he told ACN projects co-ordinators that “morale is so low” in Syria.
“Thank you very much ACN for your commitment and your effort in comforting us during our suffering,” he said.
“The situation is changing every day. It is impossible to know what is going to happen. We are living from day to day.”
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