29th November 2015
Father Andrew Ashdown in Homs, Syria
“Another visit to Homs in the heart of the ruined city to meet some of the most remarkable people of faith in the world – the Ministry for Reconciliation led by Fr Michel Naaman and the local Sheikh in the city.
Throughout the occupation of the city by militants, the faith leaders have worked tirelessly to bring peace and reconciliation between communities, and their work has had some amazing success.
They oversaw the evacuation of the rebels from the city, during which the priest told us, the Syrian army were distributing food and cigarettes to the rebels. Those rebels who laid down their arms have been reintegrated into the city. During their work amongst the rebels, several of them were injured or killed by people they were trying to help.
Their work continues in reconciling the different factions in Homs, and they believe that only peace and love will transform situations of conflict.
After he spoke, I told Fr Michel that it was announced today that the Archbishop of Canterbury has lent his support to the British Government’s desire to bomb ‘ISIS’.
Everyone in the room – Christian and Muslim -were visibly shocked. I asked what his message was….it is this:
“Syria was always a diverse people in unity with each other. People should unite to defeat terrorism, but should respect national sovereignty.
The West says they want to destroy Daesh but Syrian people will be killed and towns will be destroyed…
They really want to defeat Syria.
It is likely there will be terrible consequences..
Have the West not learnt from the past?
Instead, stop fuelling ‘ISIS’ with weapons and supporting people of violence, and help all Syrians to come together to find a political solution and have a national dialogue.
Give the money that will be spent on destruction of Syria to help in its reconstruction.
And If not, leave us alone and let Syrians choose their own future… “