SYRIA: Aramaic Relief distributes sanitizers, masks and gloves in Syriac town of Sadad

Sadad ܣܕܕ – As the coronavirus pandemic keeps spreading, Syria is also affected especially considering the lack of sufficient medical facilities, medication, sanitation and prevention materials. It is needless to say war-torn Syria is ill-prepared for the pandemic. Moreover, international embargos and the closing of the borders with surrounding countries Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan complicate the situation.

Aramaic Relief, a Swiss based Christian non-governmental relief organization, which closely partners with the Syriac Orthodox church in Aleppo, Homs and Sadad, distributed sanitizers, masks, gloves and hygiene kits in Sadad and Homs. According to the information on their Twitter and Facebook accounts, Aramaic relief distributed the sanitation and prevention materials to the local hospital in the majority-Syriac town of Sadad and to shops and vulnerable families in Sadad and Homs.

Sadad is a majority-Syriac town 60km south of Homs and lies just off the M5, a vital highway connecting Damascus and Homs. The town of Sadad twice faced an onslaught from radical jihadist groups. In 2013 the town was overrun by the Islamist militants from the al-Nusra Front which later labelled itself Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. In 2015 ISIS was gaining territory from the Syrian regime and advanced on the town of 15.000 residents.

Earlier that year, ISIS captured the mixed Sunni Muslim and Syriac Christian town of Qaryatayn. Hundreds of Sunni Muslim and Syriac Christians were kidnapped by ISIS. Syriacs were forced to follow the ISIS Islamic demands or face death. Syriac Christians and other religious indigenous minorities have been heavily persecuted wherever Islamic jihadists take control.

A woman attends mass in the Syrian village of Sadad, on December 18, 2015. Image: AFP