Translated from French from the website of the French Catholic NGO L’Œuvre d’Orient
I don't know if the city of Aleppo has or has not been declared a "Disaster city" by international bodies! What I can say myself is that it is indeed a disaster. A humanitarian, material and economic disaster!
The residents of this great seven thousand year old metropolis are found after three years of senseless war, in a disastrous situation. The prosperity that distinguished Aleppo to place it among the most cities prominent in the region has lost all its brilliance. The incalculable damage that destroyed factories and thriving industry, its infrastructure, social and administrative institutions, commerce and its legendary souks, its ancient houses, schools and hospitals have been reduced to poverty and depleted the population in a worrying and dramatic way.
Can we now talk about all the annoyances that make the Aleppins suffer these days due to the unprecedented siege that the rebels have imposed for almost two months? The lack of supplies has created a shortage of food and a large number of necessities...
In a Word, our population suffers and innocently suffers the after-effects of an unjust and devastating war.
Am I allowed to speak of our Archdiocese which has been these last months the target of projectiles of all kinds which have damaged our buildings and that put us, my clergy and myself in great danger. I lament then a great misfortune which has hit a good number of the inhabitants of this city we all love. On several occasions our apartments have suffered extensive damage, but I consider it insignificant, seeing what the city has endured... May the Lord have mercy on us and allow peace to be established in the country.
Is this a good way to contact friends on the occasion of the festivities of Christmas and new year? Who other than you, my beloved, I entrust my concerns and tell my suffering in these days which leads the world each year to joy and comfort but unfortunately give suffering and bitterness. Christmas for the faithful of Aleppo, brings hope and consolation with the coming of the newborn Savior, it remained still a feast that we celebrate with joy and one that softens our bitterness. I would like on this occasion to say to all those who believe in us, continue to support us and to pray with us and to stop this destructive scourge, which reminds us of the great barbarian invasions of the middle ages and that the greed of the big nations will be settled. This will allow, without any doubt, the poor Syrians to find tranquility and serenity necessary for dialogue, which alone is capable of carrying out a most needed agreement and national reconciliation!
I wish, dear friend, to tell you here that I love you with all my heart, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a good new year, without forgetting to thank you for your kindness and for the generosity with which you kindly help us. With my gratitude and my deep gratitude, please accept the expression of my best feelings. Original in French here
+ J- C.JEANBART
Member of the Islamist Ahrar ash-Sham publically lash two men in Aleppo, the punishment for those who trade (buy or sell) in the city while Friday Prayers are in progress. Ahrar ash-Sham is a part of the Islamic Front grouping of rebels, which was formed in November 2013 and is defacto lead by Saudi Arabia. Western media attempts to portray these militants as "more moderate" because they are not directly connected with Al Qaeda although they share the same ideology. The Islamic Front is a merger of seven rebel groups announced on 22 November 2013. Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham Al Islami means “Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant” and is itself a collection of Islamist and Salafist -Takfiri armed groups whose units combined to form one brigade.