Middle East: Statement on the situation in Syria today
07 March 2018

A young student at a JRS Damascus education centre. (JRS)

7 March 2018 – The situation in Syria, particularly in and around Damascus, remains critical. 

On 24 February the UN Security Council unanimously agreed to a 30-day ceasefire in Syria; however, there have been constant violations of the ceasefire. Yesterday, 6 March, the densely populated civilian areas of Bab Touma, Dwel’a, Qassaa, and Jaramana continued to be targets of shelling, resulting in fatalities, many casualties, and great destruction. 

We are also aware that, under the supervision of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), humanitarian aid and medical supplies have reached the most affected populations in some parts of Damascus. 

I spent the last few days with our Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) team and other residents of Damascus. It is heartwarming to note that, despite the great risks involved, our JRS team members continue to reach out to those affected by the conflict. JRS is profoundly concerned by the current situation. In the last few weeks we have had to suspend some of our activities, or curtail the scope of the work we do in some cases. This clearly has had a negative effect on those whom we seek to serve. 

One consequence of the current violence is that people who in the past were determined to remain in Damascus or Syria now feel that they have no option but to flee and seek refuge elsewhere. 

Our fervent prayer and hope is that violence by all the warring factions will cease immediately, and that normalcy, security, and sustainable peace for all will return to Damascus and every part of our long-suffering nation. 

Fr Nawras Sammour SJ 
Regional Director 
JRS Middle East 

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