(Aleppo, Syria) May 5, 2016 – Jesuit Refugee Service has resumed relief and humanitarian activities in Aleppo, Syria after a two-day suspension because of heavy bombing in and around the city in recent days.
A partial 48-hour truce brokered by the various fighting factions began Thursday, May 5 at 1 pm local time, allowing JRS to resume serving those displaced because of Syria’s ongoing civil war. JRS services in Aleppo include daily food distribution, and educational and counseling services.This truce has helped in the cessation of hostilities and improved the security situation in the area, which has been stable since early Thursday. Fr. Cedric Prakash, S.J., advocacy and communications officer for JRS’s Middle East and North Africa region, said JRS teams in Aleppo have reported that hundreds – if not thousands – of families in recent days have fled the north Syrian city for safer areas, including the Kafroun area. “JRS is present in this area and we are witnessing extreme cases of vulnerability as these families have lost everything and are often fleeing with nothing but their clothes on their back,” he said. Fr. Prakash said JRS teams in the area plan to distribute food baskets and non-food items like hygiene kits, and are currently identifying the most vulnerable families for this purpose. News outlets have reported that dozens of people have been killed in recent days in fierce clashes between rebel groups and government forces in the divided city. On Thursday, more than 30 people reportedly were killed when warplanes struck a refugee camp outside Aleppo. JRS Aleppo and JRS Middle East/North Africa thank all concerned for their support, messages of solidarity and prayers. JRS continues to pray for an immediate and complete cessation of all hostilities and that enduring peace, non-violence and stability return to the area. Above all, we stand resolute in our commitment to serve, accompany and advocate for those affected.