News by email Donate

Suggestions

syria-revolt-feb-20-main_article_image.jpg
Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP
World News

Christian charity says Syrians face desperation after bloodiest day in three years

by Tola Mbakwe

Intense Syrian government shelling and air strikes of rebel-held Damascus suburbs killed at least 98 people, a monitoring group and paramedics said.

A day after Monday's government barrage, retaliatory shells rained down on the Syrian capital, killing at least one person on Tuesday.

The targeted suburbs, scattered across an area known as eastern Ghouta , have been subjected to weeks-long bombardment that has killed and wounded hundreds of people.

John Pontifex from ACN was recently in Damascus and told Premier News Hour the need for help is overwhelming.

"It's almost impossible for agencies to meet the needs of the people," he said. "Our sense is that help is going to have to increase if we are to in any way eliminate the plight of thousands of people who I saw for myself are in incredible poverty... that really brought a tear to my eye."

He added that people are "understandably extremely afraid" and the situation is "desperate".

Ghouta Media Center via AP
This photo released on Tuesday Feb. 20, 2018 provided by the Syrian anti-government activist group Ghouta Media Center, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian paramedic, right, treats an injured man who was wounded by the shelling of the Syrian government forces, at a makeshift hospital, in Ghouta, suburb of Damascus, Syria. A Syrian monitoring group and paramedics say government shelling and airstrikes on rebel-held suburbs of the capital, Damascus, killed at least 98 people on Monday.

Opposition activists say government forces have brought in more reinforcements in recent days, suggesting a major assault is imminent to recapture the area that is the last main rebel stronghold near Damascus.

Monday's bombardment that killed nearly 100 people saw the use of war planes, helicopter gunships, and missiles as well as artillery, in a major escalation of violence near President Bashar Assad's seat of power.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was the deadliest days in eastern Ghouta since 2015, adding that 20 children and 15 women were among those killed.

ACN said it is meeting the pastoral and emergency needs of the area. The charity has completed 145 projects completed in the last 12 months and hopes to increase help.

Ghouta Media Center via AP
This photo released on Tuesday Feb. 20, 2018 which provided by the Syrian anti-government activist group Ghouta Media Center, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows an injured Syrian man who was wounded by the shelling of the Syrian government forces, waits to receive treatment at a makeshift hospital, in Ghouta, suburb of Damascus, Syria. A Syrian monitoring group and paramedics say government shelling and airstrikes on rebel-held suburbs of the capital, Damascus, killed at least 98 people on Monday.

Pontifex told Premier: "Families are really struggling. One of the great tragedies is they've had various hopes that things will get better and then there are these setbacks. While we were visiting Syria we were in the main church centre received a number of attacks."

However, he said Christians there remain resilient.

"I've visited families and their messages have been 'we're strong in our faith. This faith of ours is the only thing that's keeping us together in this time of trial and torment, even though to step outside our homes is to risk daily bombardment and we still retain our faith'.

"When I heard those words I was deeply moved because when you're living that experience you can see the cost of the terrible bombardment and how the faith can really help us in times of crisis."

Listen to John Pontifex speaking with Premier's Cara Bentley here:

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email

Connect

Donate

Donate