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Jesuit Refugee Service in Aleppo partners with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and UNHCR to distribute food aid and other basic items to the displaced families in the Mahalej-Jibreen area. (Jesuit Refugee Serivce)
Beirut, 23 December 2016 - The escalation of violence with the continued shelling in Aleppo (both in the eastern and western parts) for the greater part of the last couple of months, has been a cause of great concern to the Jesuit Refugee Service.

Whilst we are in no position to provide any numbers, ground reports inform us, that over the past few weeks, there have been numerous deaths and many more injured. Aleppo, historically a great city, today stands battered and brutalised with most parts in ruins.

We have witnessed the influx of thousands of civilians fleeing from the eastern patis to western Aleppo a11d other 'safer' areas of Syria. As in the case of most forcibly displaced persons, they had to flee leaving all their material possessions behind. All of them arrive in these 'safer' areas in dire straits.

The displaced people have had practically no access to medical help, which they need very desperately. Women and children suffer the most. A bitterly cold winter has already set in, making life for them, even more miserable.

JRS Syria and particularly JRS Aleppo, have been responding in several different ways to the displaced and other affected. They have been working in tandem with other local NGOs, doing needs assessments, provid ing blankets and other woollen wear, some food items and medical supplies, for the neediest among the displaced. The JRS Aleppo team has been reaching out, in the face of great risks to themselves and to their families.

JRS has been consistent in its stand in condemning every form of violence. We once again call upon all factions concerned, to ensure that the current cessation of hostilities, is a permanent one. We also call upon those concerned, to guarantee safe passage and security to all civilian population and to ensure that they have easy access to humanitarian aid.

Above all, we hope and pray for immediate and lasting peace: for the people of Aleppo and for all of Syria.

- Fr Michael  Zammit SJ, Regional Director for JRS Middle East