Syria (GAiN) — [EDITOR’S NOTE: Millions of Syrians and the media have focused primarily on those who have left the country. But this Global Aid Network (GAiN) story looks at those who have been forced to stay in the war-torn country.]
In some parts of Syria, children are playing outside for the first time in months. Families can enjoy sunny days at the park. Doctors and emergency workers finally have a chance to rest.
Even so, everyone is holding their breath.
Violence has declined significantly since a “cessation of hostilities” went into effect on Saturday, February 27, but no one knows if it will hold.
While the eyes and debates of the West have focused on the future of the 4.5 million Syrian refugees, about 12 million Syrians still remain in-country. Since the war began in 2011, most of those who could get out have gotten out, leaving behind the most vulnerable segments of the population—the elderly, the handicapped, families with small children, and those who simply couldn’t make the trek to safer land. For many of these, their daily reality has been the stuff of a nightmare that won’t end.
Depending on which criteria you use, anywhere from 1 million to 4.5 million people currently live under some degree of siege. Supply lines have been cut. A combination of militants, barbed wire, and landmines surround many areas, especially urban centers and their suburbs. To put it simply, humans can’t get out, and help can’t get in.
Consider what this means. Food and medicine either have run out or will run out soon. In one besieged town of 42,000 people, the residents have attempted to ward off death by surviving on spiced water and tree leaves. Across the country, many have already starved. Even in neighborhoods thus far unaffected by the worst parts of war, there is the constant knowledge that, at any moment, shelling might begin.
But with the cessation of hostilities now in effect, fear is fading away and aid is trickling through. Peace talks continue. People in the region wonder: Has the storm finally passed, or is this soothing breeze merely the eye of a storm still raging? Worse, is this calm the eye of a storm still amassing?
No one knows, but everyone agrees–considering that Syria’s infrastructure has already crumbled, considering that many of the markets have already gone bare, considering that the young and the old and the handicapped have already been surviving without essential food and medicine, and considering that a resurgence of the war will mean that precious hope was tasted and then snatched away–that what’s coming will be far nastier than what has already passed.
The oppression of this storm has been heavy, dark, and unrelenting for Syrians still inside their home country. Please pray with us. Pray this soothing breeze will bring lasting peace.
Meanwhile, GAiN ministry partners–indigenous Christian workers in the Middle East–continue to bring help and hope. Refugee kits containing meals, clothes, a blanket, and other needed supplies help ease the burden of homelessness. And along with each tangible expression of kindness comes the good news: “Jesus loves you!”
See the original article here.