Fear And Exhaustion In Aleppo As Brutal Siege Continues

The rebel-held eastern area of Aleppo has no functioning hospitals left and food supplies have been almost completely exhausted, a UN official said today.Reuters

Christians in Aleppo are praying for peace as the brutal bombardment of the Syrian city continues.

Father Ibrahim Alsabagh, priest of the Latin parish of Aleppo, told Asia News that "uncertainty and suffering prevail".

"A secondary school has just been evacuated in the western sector," he said, "and last night a missile hit another school. Fortunately, the building was empty and there were no casualties."

Civilians are "exhausted" by war, he added, and the city has become "powerless and fearful".

"We are all waiting to see what will happen in the coming days. Families, west and east, are exhausted; they only want peace in the face of an increasingly difficult life. So we decided to intensify prayers for peace during Advent."

The church is launching various "initiatives for peace" and is urging Christians around the world to pray for Aleppo and its people.

"Every first Sunday of the month, starting on 4 December, we shall conduct a procession with songs and prayers for peace," Father Ibrahim said.

"We hear the news about the governmental offensive but they are distant voices," he added. "What we experience every day are bombs, missiles, explosions in both sectors of the city."

Many families are now concerned only with surviving, and are living on tiny food rations provided by the church.

"We continue to pray for peace," said Father Ibrahim, "and also for those who drop bombs on our houses, and churches."

The priest's words come as the UN humanitarian chief and relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien warned on Tuesday that up to 16,000 people have been displaced in Aleppo.

The rebel-held eastern area of the city had no functioning hospitals left and food supplies were almost completely exhausted, he said.

Thousands more people are expected to flee Aleppo in the coming days.