From CNEWA

In Depth: Syria


To learn more about Syria:

Pope’s Message to Congregation of Eastern Churches (One-to-One blog, 12 October 2017) No matter how much suffering Christians face in the world, God never forgets those who trust in and serve him, Pope Francis told leaders of Eastern Catholic churches. The courage to “knock at the door” of God’s heart and “the courage of faith (are) needed when you pray — to have faith that the Lord is listening,” the pope told patriarchs, metropolitans, bishops, priests and lay members of the Eastern churches during his homily in Rome’s St. Mary Major...

CNEWA Connections: The Roots of ISIS (One-to-One blog, 7 September 2017) The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS; or dā’iš from its Arabic name) came forcefully to the attention of the world on 29 June 2014, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi introduced himself as the new caliph of Islam. This followed a series of military victories which gave ISIS control over several Iraqi cities; on 10 June 2014, it seized Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. It was not long before ISIS controlled much of northern Syria and large sections of Iraq...

CNEWA Connections: Why Mosul Matters (One-to-One blog, 20 July 2017) The Iraq city of Mosul has been in the news quite a bit lately and has been freed from the control of ISIS. It may, however, prove to be a Pyrrhic victory, since much of the city now lays in ruins...

CNEWA Interactive Report Tracks Migration (One-to-One blog, 10 July 2017) The migration of Christians in the Middle East over the last several years — owing to the war in Syria, the rise of ISIS, and ongoing political upheaval in the region — has had a profound impact on the region. The cultures and countries that are the very cradle of Christianity are seeing the faith disbursed and displaced. But hard and reliable statistics on this movement of peoples have been elusive — until now...

Letter from Syria: ‘Behold Your Mother’ (One-to-One blog, 8 May 2017) CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, recently received another letter from Samir Nassar, the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus, Syria, along with the holy card shown above — a poignant image of Mary for the month of May. The image shows part of the icon of Our Lady of Vladimir, which we wrote about in our magazine in 1990...

Teens Raise Thousands for CNEWA’s Work with Syrian Refugees (One-to-One blog, 1 May 2017) It sounded like a nice idea that might raise a little money and get some attention. It got a lot more than that. Last Friday, a remarkable fundraiser by a group of New York teenagers known as Relief United drew a crowd of some 300 people to a park in Westchester, New York — and, at last count, raised more than $15,000 to support CNEWA’s work with the people of Syria...

A Lenten Letter from Syria: ‘The Children Are the Most Fragile’ (One-to-One blog, 13 March 2017) Late last week, CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar received a note from Samir Nassar, the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus, along with a letter he’d written describing the situation his church in Syria is facing this Lent

SYRIA UPDATE: ‘The Situation is Catastrophic’ (One-to-One blog, 19 December 2016) The humanitarian situation is catastrophic; the weather is extremely cold. Over 15,000 people had gathered in a square in east Aleppo on Sunday for buses to take them to rebel-held areas outside the city...

Pope Writes to Syrian President, Pleading for Peace (News, 13 December 2016) Pope Francis urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to do everything possible to end the war in his country, to protect civilians and to ensure humanitarian agencies can deliver emergency aid to the people...

Is Christianity in the Middle East Facing Extinction? (One-to One blog, 13 December 2016) A recent gathering at Villanova University looked at the ongoing crisis in the Middle East — and found some compelling conclusions...

Christian Contributions in the Contemporary Middle East (Speech, 13 December 2016) The Christian presence in the Holy Land and across the Middle East has always been a diverse one as it covers a wide variety of Churches and is older than many neighboring nation states...

Addressing the ‘Crisis of Christians in the Middle East’ (One-to-One blog, 7 December 2016) CNEWA’s President Msgr. John E. Kozar was one of several prominent leaders of different faiths — including CNEWA’s chair, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan — who gathered in New York Monday night to discuss some of the threats facing Christians in the Middle East...

Meet the Refugees of Dbayeh (One-to-One blog, 28 November 2016) On a recent trip to Lebanon to visit my family, I got to encounter some of the people CNEWA helps: a small number of the estimated 1.5 million refugees living in Lebanon. I visited the Dbayeh Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Beirut; it is home to more than 4,000 refugees, most of whom are Palestinian Christians. It is also home to the Little Sisters of Nazareth, one of many local congregations with whom CNEWA partners to offer relief and assistance to those displaced within the Middle East...
Image of Innocence in a ‘Workshop of Cruelty’ (One-to-One blog, 17 November 2016) Where there is no tenderness, there is cruelty and what is unfolding in Syria is a veritable “workshop of cruelty,” Pope Francis told governing members of Caritas Internationalis. “I believe the greatest illness of today is cardiac sclerosis,” he said on 17 November, implying a kind of hardening of the heart that renders a person unable to feel compassion or be moved by another’s suffering...

SYRIA UPDATE: “Entire Neighborhoods Have Caught Fire” (One-to-One blog, 2 May 2016) Last week, CNEWA was able to talk over the phone with the Maronite priest, the Rev. Elias Adas, who is running a health facility in Aleppo, and he confirmed that at present only 35,000 Christians remain in Aleppo out of around 200,000-250,000 before 2011...

SYRIA UPDATE: The Crisis in Madaya (One-to-One blog, 8 Jan 2016) CNEWA’s regional director in Beirut, Michel Constantin, this morning sent us this report about the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Madaya, Syria: The village of Madaya is a part of the east Ghouta region, along with Zabadani and Serghaya...

CNEWA’s regional directors in Amman and Beirut have filed reports outlining CNEWA activities in the Middle East. Below, please find how your generosity has made a difference.

MIDDLE EAST UPDATE: Resilience and Grace Replace Panic and Fear (One-to-One blog, 6 August 2015) One year after ISIS extremists stormed the villages of the Nineveh Plain in the middle of the night, driving out more than 120,000 Christians, most of those who fled remain in their places of exile. ...

SYRIA UPDATE: Kidnapped Franciscan Freed (One-to-One blog, 10 July 2015) You may recall the news that broke last weekend, about the abduction of the Rev. Dhiya Azziz, a Franciscan priest serving in the Holy Land...

SYRIA UPDATE: Franciscan Priest Abducted (One-to-One blog, 7 July 2015) This morning, two Catholic priests from Homs told me of the abduction of the Rev. Dhiya Aziz, who belongs to the Franciscan missionaries serving in the Holy Land. The kidnapping took place on Saturday 4 July, while he was in his parish of Yacubiyeh, a village in Syria’s Idlib province, more than 56 miles northeast of Latakia...

Breaking in Syria: Crisis in Hassake (One-to-One blog, 30 June 2015) While I’m working in Erbil this week among the refugees in Kurdistan, I’m also monitoring developments in Hassake in northern Syria.

PRESS RELEASE: Relief Rushed to Displaced Middle East Christians (01 June 2015) CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, has released $849,200 to aid Christians in the Middle East.

Picture of the Day: Preserving Palmyra (One-to-One blog, 26 May 2015) Now that ISIS has gained control of Palmyra — and, some fear, could destroy many of the priceless artifacts in the ancient Syrian city — an important Muslim voice has been raised, calling on the world to protect and defend these treasures...

Picture of the Day: Prayers for Syria (One-to-One blog, 10 March 2015) Christian leaders again called for help for Assyrian Christians as Islamic State militants stepped up their attacks against their towns in northern Syria...

BREAKING IN SYRIA: Aid from CNEWA Reaches Families (One-to-One blog, 3 March 2015) Syrian families who have fled their homes after the Islamic State raided their villages are receiving aid from CNEWA...

Reach Out to Syria’s Christians (One-to-One blog, 27 February 2015) The Christians of Syria need us to take direct action. The families who have escaped need food to eat. A warm place to sleep. Medical care to ease their pain. Trauma counseling to soothe emotional wounds that may never heal. We wish we could stop the violence, but we know we can help these suffering Christians heal...

BREAKING IN SYRIA: ISIS Surrounds City of Hassake (One-to-One blog, 25 February 2015) There is no word about the fate of the scores of Syrian Christians — including women and children — taken into custody by ISIS the last few days. “The situation is not yet clear,” said CNEWA’s Michel Constantin in an interview with the Catholic newswire, Aleteia. “There were around 150 persons who were kidnapped. Among them, 14 or 15 are children and women. Others are elderly, and others are young persons. This is not very precise because the conflict is still going on...

BREAKING IN SYRIA: ISIS Attacks Christian Communities in Syria (One-to-One blog, 24 February 2015) More than 90 Syrian Christians, including women and children, have been captured by ISIS militants near the northeastern Syrian city of Hassake. A number of accounts from Syria report heavy fighting that began over the weekend as ISIS attacked Christian villages along the Khabur River. The river flows into Hassake, a city of 188,000 people, many of whom are Assyro-Chaldean and Armenian Christians...

On Syrian and Iraqi Refugees: “Everything Has Changed for the Worse” (One-to-One blog, 26 January 2015) Jordan and Lebanon have become a temporary refuge for millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking shelter after being forced to flee their homelands. But despite the time that has passed, things are not improving, says Carl Hétu, Canada National Director of Catholic Near East Welfare Association...

Breaking in Syria: ISIS Surrounds Syrian City of Hassake (One-to-One blog, 25 February 2015) There is no word about the fate of the scores of Syrian Christians — including women and children — taken into custody by ISIS the last few days...

Breaking in Syria ISIS Attacks Christian Communities in Syria (One-to-One blog, 24 February 2015) More than 90 Syrian Christians, including women and children, have been captured by ISIS militants near the northeastern Syrian city of Hassake....

Picture of the Day: CNEWA Rushes Aid to Syrian Children (One-to-One blog, 2 December 2014) Yesterday, we learned the United Nations World Food Program has suspended its voucher program that feeds more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt because of funding shortfalls...

CNEWA Rushes Emergency Funds to Iraqi, Syrian Refugees (One-to-One blog, 17 November 2014) CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, has rushed an additional $382,011 in emergency funds to alleviate the suffering of desperate Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan and Lebanon. In addition, funding partners in Germany have awarded CNEWA an initial grant of $124,522 to assist its work with displaced families in Iraqi Kurdistan...

Report: CNEWA’s Work in Syria CNEWA’s regional director for Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, Michel Constantin, has just filed a comprehensive report on Syria that highlights this agency’s activities on behalf of Syrian families displaced within Syria and those now living in Lebanon.

UPDATE: Christian City in Syria Under Siege (One-to-One blog, 18 September 2014) Three weeks ago, we reported that an important Christian stronghold in Syria — the city of Mhardeh and nearby Hama — was under attack by ISIS and the Al Qaeda-backed rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra. Recent reports indicate that the region is still under siege...

Cardinal Sandri Addresses Crisis in Middle East, Thanks CNEWA (One-to-One blog, 12 September 2014) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, addressed the Permanent Council of the United States Episcopal Conference in Washington D.C. on Tuesday 9 September. He described the many challenges facing the Church — and expressed his appreciation for all the pastoral and charitable work being undertaken in the region...

Syria, Shepherds and Sheep (ONE magazine, Spring 2014) Under a tranquil, cool blue sky, families trudge across Syria’s border with Lebanon, frightened and frantic, desperate to escape the fighting that has riven their country for three years...

CNEWA’s response to the Syrian crisis (13 January 2014) After more than 33 months of unrest, the conflict between the regime and the opposition in Syria has escalated to a full-scale civil war...

Letter From Syria: Saving the Children of War (ONE magazine, Summer 2013) In April 2011, the bloody events unfolding in Syria reached the city of Homs...

Report on Syria’s Displaced Christians (CNEWA Report, 22 August 2013) The majority of Syrian Christians who flee their homes and villages prefer to find shelter in safer areas inside Syria...

Situation Report: Aleppo (CNEWA Report, 1 November 2012) Aleppo’s large Christian population swelled with the influx of Armenian, Assyrian and Syriac Christians during the early 20th century and after the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in Ottoman Turkey...

Update: Syrian Refugees (CNEWA Report, 22 October 2012) As civil war engulfs Syria, leaving a tragic stalemate, the fate of Christians in the country hangs in the balance...

Update: Relief efforts (CNEWA Report, 1 August 2012) In March 2012, CNEWA launched an appeal to help the Syrian church provide emergency relief to families forced from their homes and properties in the city of Homs and the nearby town of al Qusayr...

Syria: Cradle of the Christian Faith (from ONE magazine’s special edition on the Middle East, September 2010) Syria is a cradle of Christianity. The faith’s presence there predates Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus...

To support CNEWA’s work in Syria during this time of turmoil and war, and to bring relief to those who are suffering, visit our Syria giving page.