Syrian Archbishop Appeals to UN and Iraqi Prime Minister for Aid

Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo Details Humanitarian Crisis in Region

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Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo of Hassaké-Nisibis  appealed to both the presidency of the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO) and to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, requesting immediate humanitarian aid to thousands of Syrian refugees in the region of Jazira in Upper Mesopotamia.

According to a report by Fides News Agency, Archbishop Hindo stated that «things are getting worse quickly and the situation could soon become catastrophic.» In his appeal to the FAO, the Syrian prelate outlined the survival conditions of the population in the area. Among the problem areas he noted was the interruption of supply routes for over a month causing depletion of essential goods and soaring prices of commodities.

«The grain silos – refers in particular Archbishop Hindo – were looted and wheat was sold to Turkish traders who conveyed it in Turkey, under the gaze of the Turkish customs officers. Our wheat was sold at a very low price.» The region of Jazira was renowned for the production of high quality wheat. Archbishop Hindo also noted that the lack of fuel in the region prevents the heating of homes and leads to a complete halt of all agricultural activities right at the beginning of planting season.

In addition to the grain plundered, Archbishop Hindo denounced the gradual disappearance of other vital products such as baby milk and medicines, starting from antibiotics. The only route connecting them to the outside world remains the international road to Iraq, which connects the Syrian Upper Mesopotamia to Mossul.

Appeal to Iraqi Prime Minister

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Archbishop Hindo appealed to the Iraqi Premier for aid. «Please help us as quickly as possible, by sending 600 fuel tanks, 300 tanks of gasoline and some tons of flour.

Archbishop Hindo compared the suffering of the Syrian refugees to those of the Iraqi people who suffered under the imposition of past embargoes.

«The first victims were children. You experienced on your body, in your soul and in your children all the injustice that was caused by such behavior, because only the people are punished, not the government. The States therefore put their interests above the interests of men, and even above the rights that God has on what is His work.»

The region of Jazira, with the urban centers of Kamishly and Hassake (main town in the governorate) had a million and a half inhabitants, who since the beginning of the civil war at least 400 thousand refugees from Aleppo, Homs, Deir- Ez-Zor and Damascus have been added. 

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