Syrian Christian refugees in Lebanon thankful for safe haven provided by Church

Syrian Christian refugees in Lebanon are thankful for all the help that the Greek Melkite Catholic Church and charity Aid to the Church in Need have been extending to them, saying they would be in a very pitiful situation if not for their assistance.

(REUTERS / Omar Ibrahim)Syrians carry their belongings as they arrive by foot in Wadi Khaled area, northern Lebanon, near the Lebanese-Syrian border April 28, 2011.

Hana, who requested her last name be withheld, spoke to Crux and recalled how she and her family fled from Syria in late 2011 before the civil war broke out. Although the Islamic State was not yet fully known at the time, they had heard from a local mosque that Christian men were going to be beheaded while the women would be turned into slaves.

Together with her husband Charbel and three children, Hana escaped across the border into Lebanon and settled in the Christian town of Zahle where they survived three months living on fried onions and bread. Right now, the family is living in an ACN-subsidized apartment, but they still have to pay the $400 monthly rent.

Although they want to return home, they have no means to do so because of the lack of resources and the existing threats to Christians.

Elias and Mountanha, who arrived in Zahle around a year ago after fleeing Syria in 2012, are also living in ACN-subsidized housing like Hana. Mountanha said the help that came from the charity and the local church means a lot to them.

"Without it, we would be crying tears of blood," said Mountanha.

Despite, the difficulties that Syrian Christians in Lebanon face, they still prefer to live in refugee camps. However, they vary in their capacity to forgive those who attacked their community. Mountanha is able to say that she forgives those people, but the same could not be said of Hana.

Meanwhile, Mission Network News expressed concern over the future of Syrian refugees in Lebanon after the United Nations halted its registration of them in May 2015. The international body recognized that there were more than a million Syrians in the country, but there could be between 600,000 and 700,000 whose names have not yet been noted.

Refugees who are not registered have no access to government assistance. The present situation means around 40 percent of refugees from Syria would not be able to receive aid from the Lebanese government.