UN mediator seeks Syrian cease-fire in light of major Muslim holiday

By October 18, 2012

Syria (MNN) — A UN mediator is attempting the impossible this week. He's proposing a cease-fire in Syria in honor of an upcoming Muslim holiday.

"It would be wonderful," said Jeff Palmer with Baptist Global Response. "Of course, there's no telling how many cease-fires have been tried to be negotiated in the last year.

"We just pray that this would happen."

Starting on Sunday in Iran, one of the Syrian president's strongest allies in the region, U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi moved from one neighbor nation to the next, trying to garner support for a Syrian cease-fire. Leaders from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Lebanon each met with Brahimi when he visited their respective nations.

Hundreds of thousands of people have poured into the countries surrounding Syria seeking refuge. In August, the United Nations put a mark at 2.5 million for the estimated number of people needing humanitarian aid. The U.N. also believes that by the end of 2012, more than 700,000 Syrian people will have fled the country.

Brahimi called for a truce during the upcoming Eid al-Adha, one of two major Islamic holidays. The other one occurs at the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting celebrated by Muslims worldwide. According to Reuters, Eid al-Adha begins next Thursday.

A few weeks before the U.N. envoy began its tour, Palmer visited the region and met with a different crowd: Syrian refugees.

"We're really working with those who are kind of falling outside of the system," Palmer summarized. "We're working through local partners providing basic food necessities, some basic household goods like cooking sets, and we're helping some with shelter."

In light of this week's cease-fire efforts, hope may be on the horizon for the people of Syria. But reality is ever-present.

"Winter is coming, and it's going to be tough," noted Palmer. "We've started some winter programs for blankets, and fuel and heating units to help the families living in tents and makeshift houses."

Click here to support BGR's efforts.

Pray for peace in Syria. Pray, too, for BGR workers. They're on the ground helping Syrian refugees, risking their lives to deliver relief aid and the hope of Christ. Ask God to protect these workers and give them wisdom to help the people in most need.


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