Syria: Apocalypse and Resurrection
In July, as fighting in Syria spread from the areas around Idlib, Homs and Hama to engulf other regions including the capital Damascus and Aleppo, the largest city in the country, the Red Cross said that Syria was in effect at civil war.
A few days after the conflict reached the capital, Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus wrote this letter describing the situation the people there faced.
I am writing as I am still alive and internet access is still available… Since the morning of Tuesday, July 17 2012, they have been fighting to take control of the capital Damascus using heavy weapons, tanks and helicopters in a city full of people. The destruction is enormous. What a calvary!
Clashes take place in the streets and spread from one neighbourhood to another. It is impossible to sleep because of fear and the sound of bombs and gunfire. The summer temperature ranges from 42 and 56 degrees and the power cuts are wearying.
Cut off from the rest of Syria, Damascus suffers many shortages. No more supplies arrive… We are short of bread, of vegetables, of food, of gas for cooking and fuel for the bakeries...
They run for their lives… Families depart a large number of hot neighbourhoods to form an endless thread down the road to Lebanon. Other roads – to Jordan, Iraq and north to Homs-Aleppo – were closed.
The exodus to Lebanon occurs in a general panic. I hope they will find decent housing… because so far Syrians have welcomed refugees from Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq…
The faithful few who dared to pick up the courage to come to Mass burned many candles at the tomb of Blessed Martyrs of Damascus. They exchanged farewells and tears before they returned home accompanied by the sound of gunfire and explosions…
Damascus was spared the 16 months of violence that tore apart the other cities of Syria ... now it is our turn to suffer and die.
We have just done up a corner under the staircase to take shelter from the neighbouring bombs, the vaults of the parish have just been cleaned... It seems that the resurrection is overdue after so much suffering…
+ Samir Nassar
Maronite Archbishop of Damascus
July 20, 2012