Caritas Jordan Director Speaks on Efforts to Aid Syrians

Refugees Continue Fleeing Amid Violence

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AMMAN, Jordan, AUG. 2, 2012 ( Forces still loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad struck back at rebels today, killing at least 70 people in the capital, Damascus. At least 20,000 people have died since the start of the conflict in September 2012. The majority of those killed have been civilians. 

It is estimated that a quarter million people have been driven from their homes. Most refugees have sought refuge in the neighboring kingdom of Jordan. Caritas Jordan has estimated roughly 165,000 people have sought refuge in the kingdom. 

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Wael Suleiman, director of Caritas Jordan, said that most of those seeking refuge are utterly destitute. “They left everything in Syria,” he explained, adding, “they came without [anything], and they need everything.” 

Suleiman said that the refugees do not speak of political issues “because they are still afraid of their regime.” 

“They were under a regime where they were not allowed to speak or to think sometimes. They are coming here [to] Jordan, because they know that Jordan is a peaceful country and they only came to ask for help to support their families,” he said.

The director of Caritas Jordan said that they are working with the Catholic Church in Jordan to provide the refugees with food, medical, and educational services and training. Suleiman also noted that the people of Jordan have been very generous and sympathetic to the plight of the Syrian people. “Jordanian people are generous,» he said. 

“They feel … very close to the Syrian people and for that they are trying their very best to support these families as much as they can, offering them their houses, offering them everything that they have. Sharing. Even poor Jordanian families are trying to share some things with the Syrian refugees.”

Pope Benedict XVI also called on the international community to assist in humanitarian aid to those suffering in the conflict. He made his most recent appeal after the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday. 

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