Despite the Syrian city of Aleppo still seeing an unsettling magnitude of violence and conflict, a Catholic Church is actively helping and providing hope to both Christians and Muslims who have remained in the city.
According to Jesuit priest Fr. Ziad Hilal of the Catholic international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the Church has recently been stepping in to feed the hungry, the majority of which are Muslims.
"We have a big kitchen, this kitchen was sponsored by ACN and other associations, and a lot of people who come — we give about 7,500 meals every day," Fr. Hilal said, as quoted by Christian Today.
"It is a lot, and the team is a Muslim and Christian team, and a lot of the people who benefit from these meals are Muslims," he added.
Providing the basic necessities such as food already goes a long way in making people more resilient and hopeful that things will turn out for the better. The people of Aleppo need such support more than ever, especially with the recent multiple deaths brought about by the intense fighting and the thousands of people being displaced. Power and water were also cut, affecting about two million people.
Most recently, at least 18 people were killed on Friday when an airstrike in the opposition areas in the Aleppo province hit a market, a hospital and a village. Among those killed were several children, a nurse, and two hospital staffers. The hospital that was struck was the only hospital for women and children in the town of Kafr Hamrah.
According to Fr. Hilal, "What the people in Syria and especially in Aleppo need is security and mercy to continue their lives because it is a hard situation ... It is important now to say what Pope Francis said a few days ago — 'I encourage everyone — young and old people — to live with enthusiasm in this Year of Mercy, to overcome indifference, and firstly proclaim peace in Syria is possible. Peace in Syria is possible.' This is our cry today, that peace in Syria is possible, this is the only hope for us."