Prayers for peace in Syria
20 January 2014
Ahead of the Geneva peace conference this Wednesday, please pray for all those affected by the war in Syria.
This Wednesday, representatives from the Syrian government, some opposition groups and governments around the world are scheduled to meet in Geneva for peace talks. We are calling on all sides to redouble their efforts in search of a peaceful solution to the conflict.
CAFOD’s Anne Street says: "After nearly four years of fighting, more than 100,000 women, children and men have lost their lives. This winter, the suffering of ordinary people across the region has deepened. The people of Syria are facing a humanitarian catastrophe, which will only stop when there is a complete end to the fighting and a clearly defined peace process."
On a knife-edge
In Syria itself, 9.3 million people are in need of aid, and 6.5 million have been forced from their homes. A further 2.3 million people have fled the country as refugees. The effects of the conflict have spread to neighbouring countries, with Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq hosting huge numbers of refugees.
Father Simon Faddoul, President of our partner Caritas Lebanon, says: "This is the greatest humanitarian disaster of the 21st century, and we urgently need peace – not just for the sake of Syria, but for the sake of neighbouring countries as well.
"A quarter of Lebanon’s population are now Syrian refugees, and many are living in desperate conditions: I’ve met families struggling to survive in tents surrounded by snow, sometimes without shoes or warm clothes. Many children are unable to go to school.
"The crisis has caused huge political instability here in Lebanon and across the region. We’re living on a knife-edge. We urge all parties at the negotiating table to remember the ordinary people who are suffering during this crisis."
Aid needs to get through
While the aim of the Geneva conference is to achieve the first steps towards peace in Syria, we are also calling on all sides to acknowledge the importance of allowing aid to reach those in need.
Anne Street says: "CAFOD’s Church partners are working in some of the worst-hit parts of Syria – but there are other areas which no aid agency can reach. The re-emergence of polio is just one dreadful consequence of the fact that medicine isn’t getting through. There needs to be the political will to push for a pause in the fighting, to allow life-saving provisions such as food, medicine and blankets for the winter cold to reach people in need.
"The Syrian government and armed opposition groups are all obliged, under international humanitarian law, to allow safe passage of relief convoys and humanitarian personnel in areas under their control. It would be a huge step forward if the conference could persuade all parties to respect the Geneva Conventions."
Thanks to your donations, we are continuing to work with local Church partners within Syria – as well as in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey – to provide food, shelter, medical supplies, clothes and blankets to those most in need.
Prayer for peace in Syria
God of mercy,
Pour out your peace upon us all.
Watch over our brothers and sisters in Syria,
especially those who have fled their homes.
Lead them to a place of safety
and bring comfort to those who mourn.
Inspire us all to share the light of your hope,
and to reach out in a spirit of compassion.
Make us channels of your peace,
so all your children may live
free from fear, conflict and pain.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Prince of Peace, Amen.