The winter in Syria continues to be rather harsh. The displaced, without sufficient access to appropriate lodging and heating, continue to suffer. Essential commodities are not easily available; and whenever they are, then prices are astronomical.
The fragile peace continues. One occasionally hears sounds of gun fire/mortar shells. However, in the past week no serious attacks or casualties have been reported. The displaced and other affected are still looking for ways and means of greater security. This past week has seen more people coming into Aleppo – including NGO workers and media personnel.
The people in and around Damascus are still suffering because of lack of water. Since December 22nd, the main water supply to the city has been cut off. For most of the people, especially for the displaced, this is has been a real tough time. The ‘Water Authority’ has initiated an emergency system, by which they ration out water for approximately four to six hours (but ONLY ONCE IN FOUR DAYS) to the different neighbourhoods.
On the security front, things look stable. The last reported explosion that took place in Kafar-Souseh on January 12th.
There are reports of clashes / fighting in the northern and eastern rural areas of Homs. The overall security situation has been generally good. However, the electricity supply is still very erratic.
Facing all odds JRS –Syria staffers have continued with their normal and routine activities and other programmes (like trainings) in Aleppo, Homs and Damascus.
The Aleppo team continued to face challenges due to the displacement and the huge influx from the eastern part of the city. On January 21st, working in collaboration with the Latin Rite Church and the Society of Jesus and Mary, hygiene kits and woolen underwear clothes were distributed to 497 families in the Jibreen area (Al-Bareed).
JRS- Syria and JRS(MENA) pray and hope that the high level two-days of peace talks, which have just concluded in Astana, Kazakhstan, will bring for the people of Syria, an end to the almost six years of violence and the beginning of lasting peace.. Above all, we call upon every faction to ensure that the ‘Astana Agreement’ is respected both in letter and in spirit, for the good of all.