A nun who's providing urgent aid in Syria has urged Western countries not to forget the Syrian people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sister Annie Demerjian told Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), that COVID-19 had brought the country's recovery to a halt:
"Syria is like someone who has had a serious operation and he needs to heal, he needs to recover and he suddenly doesn't have time to recover. The world has begun to forget about Syria and that's painful."
"Everybody knows we are coming out of a very difficult situation, the civil war. People start breathing, the remaining Christians are beginning to stand on their feet.
"Then the pandemic came and people collapsed. It's a big burden - no work, no jobs," she said.
Sister Annie said that the combination of the civil war, the pandemic and fresh economic sanctions against the government of Syria have left many people in extreme poverty. She added that the pandemic came just as people were beginning to piece their lives back together:
"Life without electricity and gas is very hard and that's because of the sanctions. Only every couple of hours we get one hour of electricity. That is not enough to heat a house.
There is not enough gas to cook food."
ACN has helped Sister Annie provide anoraks for more than 26,000 children for the winter months where temperatures can dip below zero.
She said: "A father cannot buy his child an anorak because one anorak is equal to his salary, or more. Our campaign was for families who find it impossible to help their children. It's helped thousands of children. "You cannot imagine the joy in the faces and eyes of the children when they were given the anoraks."
"We are trying to help the economy, 40 shops and factories made the anoraks which created jobs as well. We had two goals: creating jobs and distributing anoraks to our children in this harsh winter."