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Beirut, 3 May 2016 - Jesuit Refugee Service is unequivocal in condemning every form of violence- and particularly violence on civilian populations. Nonviolence, we believe, is the ONLY way for a sustainable and universal peace.

The recent escalation of violence – mass shelling and explosions -   particularly this past week, in and around Aleppo, has resulted in severe casualties among the civilian population. We are deeply concerned about this.

Today (3 May 2016) one of our colleagues in Aleppo, Syria report:

"The son of one of our JRS staff members has suffered kidney injuries, his medical situation is stable now. Mortar shells fell directly next to the JRS distribution centre and the JRS clinic. Additionally, ince the early hours of the morning several  mortar shells have fallen on Al-Rahman Mosque next to the JRS kitchen.  Areas where we distribute food and goods as well as conduct team visits  are subject to heavy and continued shelling. "

Though none of JRS works or personnel on duty have, so far, been directly affected by this current spate of violence, as a precautionary measure we have  immediately suspended   all of our activities (distribution centre, clinic and kitchen) in Aleppo until further notice.

This decision has been taken with great regret and will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

In the interest and safety of the civilian population of Aleppo we call upon all warring factions to halt all hostilities with immediate effect.

We wish to express our solidarity with all those affected and pray that peace returns to Aleppo and to the whole of Syria

--Cedric Prakash, JRS Middle East Advocacy and Communications Officer