Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
5 January 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro

Syrian refugee children play in the mud after rain in Akkar, Lebanon, on 2 January. (photo: Mahmoud Salih/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

‘I wasn’t afraid, but now I am’: Syrians fear Lebanon’s visa rules (Al Jazeera) mixture of confusion and fear have struck the Syrian population currently residing in Lebanon after a recent announcement about new visa restrictions. Huddled together under the pouring rain in a rundown neighborhood in Beirut, a number of Syrians who have been living in Lebanon for several years kept repeating the same question, “What does this mean for us?” The move by the Lebanese government is unprecedented. As of Monday, Syrians trying to enter Lebanon have to provide documentation identifying their reason for being in Lebanon, highlighting stricter entry procedures for people who, since Lebanon gained its independence in 1943, had been able to move freely across the border…

In Jordan, church struggles to accommodate refugees (Aid to the Church in Need) For years now, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been a haven for refugees from Iraq. However, a critical limit is in view as the country is also forced to accommodate a huge and growing influx of refugees fleeing ongoing war and violence in Syria. Along with Lebanon, the country is threatened by chaos as hundreds of thousands of people displaced from both Syria and Iraq threaten to swamp Jordan’s capacity to cope with the newcomers…

The Arab world’s vanishing Christians (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) This past Christmas, like every Christmas, thousands of pilgrims and tourists traveled to the Middle East to celebrate the holiday in the land of the Bible. In Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem led a midnight Mass, while in Syria — where some Christians still speak dialects of Aramaic, similar to the ancient language Jesus spoke — celebrations were subdued, curtailed by the dangers of a war that is tearing the country apart…

Turkey permits first new church in 90 years (Al Arabiya) Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government has authorized the building of the first church in the country since the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1923. The church is for the country’s tiny Syriac community and will be built in the Istanbul suburb of Yesilkoy on the shores of the Sea of Marmara, which already has Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic churches. “It is the first since the creation of the republic,” a government source said Saturday. “Churches have been restored and reopened to the public, but no new church has been built until now…”

Catholic bishop in Ukraine says situation in war zones ‘catastrophic’ (Ecumenical News) Catholic Bishop Stanislav Shyrokoradiuk of Kharkiv-Zaporizha says the situation in eastern Ukraine is dramatic, with death and hunger in the war zone near Russia. Bishop Stanislav’s diocese encompasses almost the entire eastern part of Ukraine, including areas no longer under the control of the government in Kiev, the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need reports. “The situation in the war zones is catastrophic. There is hunger. More than 80 people have already died of it in Luhansk and Donetsk,” said the bishop, who is also the director of Caritas Ukraine…

Tags: Lebanon Ukraine Refugees Jordan Turkey