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24 November

Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and companions

Marist Calendar - November

“Let us save Aleppo”



Br Emili Turú has given his support to the appeal of Andrea Riccardi

04/07/2014: General House

Br Emili Turú, as Superior General of the Marist Institute, has given his support to the appeal “Let us save Aleppo”, launched by Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of San Egidio. 

Br Emili says:

“I would like to express my gratitude to Andrea Riccardi for this stupendous initiative, to which I give my total support, in the name of the Marist Institute. Our commitment for peace and reconciliation is expressed through the active presence of a marvellous group of Marists in this city. The Marist Blues are demonstrating, day after day, with endless creativity, that dialogue and peaceful coexistence are possible, and that diversity is not a threat but a richness.”

“For this reason,” continues Br Emili, “the appeal of Riccardi is most timely. It is necessary to put an immediate end to a massacre which has lasted two years. It is necessary for an international intervention to deliver Aleppo from the siege. To achieve this, all the governments involved must demonstrate responsibility: from Turkey, aligned with the rebels, to Russia, with influence on   Assad. To save Aleppo is worth more than to secure one or other part of the terrain. It is necessary to open up humanitarian corridors immediately and provide supplies for the civilian population trapped in the city. And then it is necessary to negotiate at all costs an end to the fighting.”


 Appeal of Andrea Riccardi

I launch an appeal for Aleppo

Something terrible is unfolding. And it is ignored. Or people watch on, hopeless. It is two years that people have been fighting in Aleppo. In July 2012 the battle began in the most populous city of Syria. However, its two million inhabitants stayed on, preserving the thousand-year-old coexistence of Muslims and Christians. The city is segmented:the majority of the districts are in the hands of the government, but there are areas under rebel control, though they have withdrawn since Summer 2012. The rebels, in turn, are pressed from southwest by the government forces. Surrounded by the opposition, including intransigent and bloodthirsty fundamentalists, the people cannot leave the city. For Christians, to leave the area under government control means to risk their lives.

The two bishops of Aleppo, Gregorios Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, who were seized more than a year ago, are well aware of this. Aleppo is the third “Christian” city in the Arab world, after Cairo and Beirut: there used to be 300 thousand Christians!

Death everywhere

The people are suffering. Assad’s air forces strike the areas under rebel control with missiles and barrel bombs; in the meanwhile the rebels bomb the other districts with mortars and handmade rockets. The people are starving and missing medicines. The jihadist groups threaten the city by stopping the water. The war is terrible, and death comes from all directions. Through underground tunnels, “enemy” buildings are mined. How can people survive? This slaughter has lasted two years: it must stop. An international intervention is necessary to free Aleppo from the siege. The governments involved need to take responsibility: Turkey, on the rebels’ side, Russia, which holds an authoritative position for Assad. Saving Aleppo is worth more than the victory of one side or the other on the field! Humanitarian corridors need to be established and supplies for the civilians provided. Then it is necessary to negotiate, setting no deadline, the end of the fighting. A UN peacekeeping force would be appropriate. Of course, it takes time to assemble it and it would require collaboration from Damascus. In the meanwhile the people of Aleppo die. Peace needs to be imposed, in the name of those who suffer, establishing a kind of “Aleppo, open city”.

 Andrea Riccardi


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