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03/21/2022 Syria (International Christian Concern) – On March 15, Syrians lamented the 11th anniversary of the start of the Syrian civil war. And yet, for some time, the ongoing conflict has “fallen into oblivion,” as Cardinal Mario Zenari commented, with the pandemic and Ukraine taking over the news cycles.

The Cardinal and ambassador to Syria reflected, “Unfortunately, hope has gone from the hearts of many people and in particular from the hearts of young people, who do not see a future in their country and seek to emigrate. And a nation without young people, moreover qualified, is a nation without a future.”

Women, and Christian women, in particular, have been left by the wayside for the majority of the conflict. Some lost husbands in combat, while some fled to a better life elsewhere, leaving their wives and children behind. Women then must act as breadwinners for the family, usually only able to secure about $50 per month. They wait in long lines for subsidized bread and fuel. Or, if unable to wait in such long lines because of caring for their children, they pay extraordinary prices for fuel on the black market. ICC and other ministry partners seek to provide livelihoods and relief for Syrian Christians who remain in their home country. An Open Doors partner commented, “Our main focus is how to equip them to become independent and build their future for themselves and their children.”

Since the war started on March 15, 2011, there have been an estimated half a million casualties. The conflict has also created 6.6 million refugees, and 6.7 million internally displaced persons, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

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