MCC photo/Emily Loewen

J Ron Byler (left) and Rick Cober Bauman (center) play games with children from the orphanage run by the Syrian Orthodox Church in Homs.

If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.

– 1 Corinthians 12:26

In February we were part of a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) delegation to Syria, including Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo. We witnessed the devastation of war and heard testimonies of faith from people who have been living in difficult circumstances now for seven long years.

“You have suffered with us and rejoiced with us,” one of our partners told us. Said another: “Your presence with us is a sign of hope that God is not far from us.”

MCC has worked in Syria since 1991. Our current projects include food assistance, cash allowances, educational support and peacebuilding projects. 

From our Syrian partners we hear clearly that the horrors of this war are being perpetrated by armed actors on all sides. We strongly decry all violence, including air and ground-based strikes, shelling and sieges of civilian areas. 

We are also keenly aware of our own governments’ roles in the conflict. Canada and the U.S. are part of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS that was formed in 2014. The U.S. has carried out thousands of airstrikes, maintains about 2,000 troops in Syria and provides support to various opposition groups. 

We call on our governments—and all parts of the international community who are involved in the conflict—to immediately cease all military involvement in Syria, including troop presence, arms sales and other support for armed actors. 

Rather than fueling the flames of violence, we call on our governments to urgently support diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the war and to provide generous humanitarian assistance for those who are in need.

MCC is committed to continuing to partner with Syrians as they seek a just and peaceful future. In Syria, we heard from our partners that they are tired but they know they can’t stop helping others because the need continues. MCC supporters have already been generous, but we ask you not to stop helping now. You can contribute online.

And we encourage you to contact your elected officials. More information can be found at washington.mcc.org/syria-iraq and mccottawa.ca. Please consider contacting your elected officials today.
 

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