It's hard to believe that the Syrian conflict has been going on for three years now. Saturday just gone marked the third anniversary and the situation there is as appalling as ever. I won't pretend to you that I know all the ins and outs of what is happening in Syria but the bits I do know horrify me and make me feel physically sick. Last night as I wrote this I read about the 140,000 deaths of Syrian people that happened before the United Nations stopped counting in January. That really did break my heart; this is so out of control that they cannot even keep up with the amount of people dying as a result of all this.
How can it be that in this day and age a small group of local people can't take to the streets for a peaceful protest without the army opening fire on them and causing three years of heartache? As well as the 140,000 deaths there are over 2.5 million refugees who have had to flee Syria to the neighbouring countries.
Last night I sat and read an account about a Syrian lady called Safiyyah. She is 23 years old and the mother to a toddler. Before she fled Syria she was training to be a teacher. It therefore makes sense that she is working as a supervisor in a kindergarten for Syrian refugee children in Jordan. The kindergarten is run by a local charity in partnership with Tearfund. Safiyyah felt she had no choice but to leave Syria, not when there were tanks shooting at them in the street and she was regularly witnessing friends and family being attacked, mutilated and slaughtered. She is quoted as saying -‘It’s normal. It’s becoming normal to us.’ It makes no sense at all that slaughter can become so commonplace that is is thought of as normal.
Safiyyah explains how she is worried for her young son, that her extreme fear during pregnancy damaged him and has affected how he will grow up. Yet her love for her country remains strong and she wishes to return to Syria so he may grow up there. Of course the Syria she desires is the one she loved prior to March 2011 and the start of this barbarism.
Syrian children at a kindergarten in Jordan. As well as education they receive a snack to supplement their diet and sessions with a psychologist each week.
The children who get to attend this kindergarten are some of the more lucky ones, many children have no school to attend and are lost right now, just trying to stay alive living on the streets with no parents and having watched atrocities that no person should be exposed to.
Safiyyah tells of a young boy of 5 and a half who approached her to tell her his mother had been killed.
‘I asked him, “How did she die?”
‘He said, “We were in our home in Syria my dad asked my mum to bring him a glass of water. And she said ‘its shelling I can’t go.’” ‘But he forced her to bring him some water to drink. She went to the kitchen and a rocket came and hit the kitchen. She screamed and the children all went to go to the kitchen, but he did not allow them. ‘When the shelling was calm, they went to the kitchen and all the rubble was on top of the mother. So they were all trying, fetching, how they can help. This boy, he got hold of something of his mum, he pulled, it was the head of his mum. ‘He told me that he hates his dad. He feels that he is responsible for killing his mum. He’s 5 ½.’
It really is heart wrenching stuff. I've got two six year olds the worst they have ever had to content with is a dead mouse. No child that young should be trying to pull their mother from bomb rubble and just discovering her head.
Tearfund are working hard with their partners to support as many people as they can in Syria. You can help too.
Please pray for the people of Syria, for the refugees, for those still in the country and most importantly pray for peace and resolution (for a miracle). There are some good prayer resources from Tearfund.
Of course if you are able to give money then please do that too. £110 will buy a whole winter kit, giving a family four mattresses, warm clothes and blankets and a simple stove. Every penny you can offer will go towards something really worthwhile for those living in terrible circumstances.
‘ON HIM WE HAVE SET OUR HOPE THAT HE WILL CONTINUE TO DELIVER US, AS YOU HELP US BY YOUR PRAYERS.’
2 COR. 1:10-11