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ICC Note: In the midst of on-going violence and destruction hundreds of Christians gathered in Aleppo, Syria to demonstrate and call for peace in a land that has been destroyed by more than three years of war. Some 800 Christians gathered calling for an end to the fighting. They gathered despite the dangers that have led to as many as 200,000 Syrian Christians leaving the country and hundreds of thousands more displaced from their homes.

09/23/2014 Syria (ANSAMed) – Roughly 800 Syrian Christian youth gathered this week in an Aleppo religious community centre to demonstrate resistance to ongoing fighting between regime and rebel forces, a Syrian Catholic priest said. Despite bombing by anti-Assad militants in the Christian neighborhoods of Aleppo, a two-day meeting, called You Are My Witnesses, took place in the city’s Salesian centre. “It represented a moment of joy, faith and prayer for peace,” the priest, who did not want his identity known, told ANSAmed.

Conflict has placed Syrian Christians in dramatic circumstances. More than 200,000 Christians have fled Syria, while hundreds of thousands more have evacuated cities and other at-risk areas to seek refuge in the so-called Valley of the Christians, near the Mediterranean.

Mharda, a town in central Syria where about 20,000 Christians live, for weeks has been threatened with attack and possible conquest by groups linked to the Islamic State.

“Now the situation has improved, but the fear remains,” said the priest.

Tension in many Christian villages is high. One false alarm after another often prompt people to flee, only to return and find their homes looted by criminal gangs. “No one knows how this war will end,” said the priest.

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