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Aleppo's Struggle: A City Under Siege by Poverty

Updated: Jan 14





Overview:


Aleppo, once ravaged by war, now grapples with a different form of crisis – the devastating impact of 11 years of conflict and economic sanctions. Despite the absence of direct violence since 2017, the city faces a relentless assault of poverty.


Economic Fallout:


Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo describes the dire situation resulting from the embargo on Syria.


With a scarcity of job opportunities and a lack of fuel, 80% of the city's residents now live below the poverty line.


The economic landscape has shifted dramatically, with the affluent leaving, turning the middle class into the poor, and the poor into destitute individuals.


Daily Struggles:


In Aleppo, a once-thriving metropolis, the average monthly salary has plummeted to a mere $50.


Residents endure profound hardships, struggling to afford basic necessities like food, education, and medical care.


The bishop recounts poignant encounters with people subsisting on plain bread, often without any accompaniments. Meat and cheese have become unattainable luxuries.


Diminishing Christian Presence:


Fuel shortages exacerbate the crisis, with government-provided electricity limited to six hours a day.


The Christian community, already dwindling due to emigration, faces further decline. The bishop notes a staggering decrease in the Christian population, emphasizing the urgent need to support those who remain through initiatives like medical aid, education, and food assistance.


Emigration and Hope:


As young graduates leave Syria in search of a better future, the Christian presence continues to shrink.


Bishop Audo, while acknowledging the church's inability to compel people to stay, underscores ongoing efforts to provide essential support. Organizations like Aid to the Church in Need, Caritas, and the Jesuit Refugee Service play a crucial role in alleviating suffering and fostering a sense of community through activities such as weeklong camps.


Importance of Christian Presence:


The bishop emphasizes the pivotal role of Christians in Syria and the Middle East, urging global awareness. Despite challenges, he advocates for perseverance, activism, and a steadfast commitment to faith and history. As the Christian community faces adversity, the bishop remains hopeful that their presence will contribute to the nation's identity and stability.

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