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In April 2013 during the US regime change operation in Syria, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of the now damaged cathedral was kidnapped together with the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop. The two clergymen never returned. Facebook

Syrian Christians in Aleppo hard hit by quake

While Turkey is the focus of earthquake reporting, the war-torn country Syria finds itself in a terrible situation. Western sanctions stand in the way of aid to quake victims.

Published: February 10, 2023, 6:39 am

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    A German weekly publication Tichy’s Einblick (TE) spoke to the Christian aid organization CSI, which works on the ground in Syria. They interviewed Pastor Peter Fuchs, CSI’s Germany manager, who has repeatedly visited Syria and is in close contact with the local officials.

    TE asked Fuchs about the many images of killed Christian clergymen circulating on social media.

    How badly are the Christians in Syria affected?

    According to Fuchs, a good friend of his, Father Imad Folge, died in the earthquake that lasted several minutes. He had survived the terrible fighting for Aleppo in 2016 with serious injuries, losing an eye and half of his face at the time. Now this faithful priest died under the rubble of a house in the Melkite Archdiocese.

    Aleppo, Hama, Tartus and Latakia have been hit by the worst earthquake in 800 years. The Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, compared the quake to a gigantic bomb which fell on Aleppo after 12 years of war.

    Another Christian relief worker said his organization Open Doors was providing shelter for the Christians at some churches and providing them with food and warmth. “It’s very cold now.”

    People left their homes suddenly, and in many cases they cannot return – either because their houses have been destroyed, or are unsafe. “We’re talking about more than 20 000 Christians now in the streets,” he said. “I’m now in the street also. No one is at home. No shops, no food. People are really suffering.”

    The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Aleppo consecrated in December 2000, posted photographs of the damage to its cathedral on social media. “This unprecedented earthquake caused great destruction of life and body,” the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese said in a statement. The archdiocese traces its beginnings back to the Antioch of the earliest Christians and Apostle Paul.

    Is the next wave of emigration inevitable?

    Because of Western sanctions, Syrians are already struggling. According to Fuchs, the quake has made the situation worse. Aleppo is a center and symbol of Syrian Christianity and that this apocalyptic catastrophe will further increase the pressure to emigrate from Syria – among Christians and Muslims, he said.


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