KAIROS joins the cry for an end to violence in Syria
KAIROS echoes the call of the World Council of Churches for an immediate end to the violence in Syria and for “all parties to engage in dialogue – as the only solution – in order to safeguard the unity and pluralistic nature of historic Syria.” We mourn the tragic loss of so many lives, and the trauma and suffering inflicted on Syrian citizens and on the thousands of refugees from across the region hosted in Syria.
“The conflict is headed into the unknown. On one side, a strong, centralized power that refuses to let go; on the other, a determined popular uprising that will not alleviate or surrender, despite the intensity of the violence,” says Samir Nassar, the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus. “Ordinary people are subjected to enormous pressure and intense suffering that only grow as time goes by.”
The UN now estimates that there are over a million displaced people within Syria. In August, a further 100,000 Syrians fled to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, bringing the number of Syrians seeking asylum outside Syria to over 230,000, a majority of whom are women and children, including many unaccompanied minors. According to UNICEF, some 17,000 people – half of them children – are sheltered at the Za’atari refugee camp in the north of Jordan.
Through our partner, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, a member of the ACT Alliance of churches providing humanitarian relief, KAIROS is responding to the situation in Syria by aiding refugees in Jordan.
KAIROS members, the United Church of Canada (UCC), the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the Christian Reformed Church in North America (through the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC)), Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), The Presbyterian Church in Canada (through Presbyterian World Service and Development (PWS&D)) and Mennonite Central Committee (Canada (MCC)) are also sending aid. More information can be found at:
Canada announced in August that it was providing $8.5 million in humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of those people affected inside Syria and those who have fled to neighbouring countries, including Jordan. These funds are welcome but there is much more Canada can do.
Canada should use its growing influence with members of the UN Security Council’s Permanent Five (known collectively as the P-5) to push harder for peace. The Security Council needs to speak with a single voice and demand an end to the violence. As some commentators have said about the Syrian crisis and others, rather than a P-5, we now have a P-3 (US, UK, and France) and a P-2 (China and Russia) . Canada should work with the Chinese, in particular, to be more proactive in pushing Syrian President Bashar Assad to halt the army’s shelling of Syrian towns and to negotiate peace with the rebels.
For more information, please contact John Lewis, International Human Rights and Middle East Partnerships Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org