Syria – "We hoped that the worst had passed ... But we realize that we are about to starve"

22 June 2020

(ANS - Damascus) - A cry of desperation and a cry for help comes ever louder from Syria. Below is a summary of the testimony of a collaborator from the Middle East Province (MOR), residing in Syria.

I am 25 years old and live in Jaramana, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Damascus that during the war welcomed many refugees (...) it received thousands of mortar rounds and witnessed several car explosions that caused hundreds of deaths.

After a relative stabilization between 2016 and early 2020, the current economic situation has started to change. The first reason is the economic crisis in Lebanon, (with the freezing by banks of all savings, including Syrian citizens). Lebanon is the main channel of relations and trade between Syria and the world, as well as the source of all imports.

Then there was the pandemic and the restrictions imposed on the population, which caused a large part of the population to lose their source of income for three months, and another part to totally lose their jobs.

In 2011 the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Syrian lira was 1 to 45; in recent weeks, the currency has been swaying between 2,000 and 3,000 Syrian pounds per dollar and the fear is that it may reach 5,000.

Average monthly wages are between 39 and 62 dollars, but the cost of living is around $ 465. It is estimated that a family of 4 consumes around $ 180 just for food.

People today live in conditions of extreme poverty. I personally saw some people eating from the rubbish bins, and they were not homeless: they were just hungry people!

The current situation is erasing any hope left and everyone reproaches himself for not having left the country ... It was better to die by trying than to live like this.

Everyone is concerned (...) especially after the introduction of the new sanctions imposed by the US Caesar Authority (which will strengthen existing sanctions, ie preventing anyone from doing business with Syrian institutions or from participating in the reconstruction of the Country).

Educational institutions have had to increase their prices by 100% and the chances of access to quality education are minimal. We hope that the construction of the new Salesian work can be carried out in Jaramana, which also includes a Vocational Training Center, first aid, medical wards and the oratory.

This is the worst situation Syria has ever witnessed since the beginning of the war, worse than the bombing, kidnappings and killings, because now most people are fighting hunger.

“In the face of so much agony," Fr Pietro Bianchi concludes, SDB, “there are no adequate words. Let's not turn off the spotlight on this situation! We, Salesians and lay people, renew our commitment not to abandon our brothers - tried and in despair. Pray for us!"


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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