by Irmina Nockiewicz

Mekite Archbishop of Homs, Abdo Arbach, is enthusiastic about the reconstruction. “People need this help” – he explains and highlights that it can also prevent the massive flow of Christians from Syria. “Supporting houses’ reconstruction, we can help Christians to stay in Syria. This is their homeland.”

Melkite Archbishop of Homs, H.E. Mgr Abdo Arbach, describes the current situation: “Homs started to feel safer. There is some more peace or rather tranquillity, because there is still some kind of fear. Last international intervention showed that the war in Syria is not yet over. Not only we suffer from the troublesome areas in the countryside between Homs and Hama, but also from the electricity and water supply shortages, many are poor, medical care is often beyond reach… The most important is that things are getting better and the daily life in Homs seems to be normal. Still there are some neighbourhoods in Homs, which are in ruins since they were destroyed. This is the reason why a large number of families have not yet returned to their houses. Despite all and everything, we still have HOPE.”

In the middle of Homs at the Christian district, Al Hamidiyeh, there is a street called Hope Street. This area suffered from a violent destruction, the house of Abdel Masih Carah’s family among the others. They were living here all their life: with his wife Nibal, two daughters: Mirna and Lana and one son, whose name is Hafez. They were lucky; their house was only partially destroyed by a mortar shell and burnt, while many others are turned to ruin and rubble. This is the panorama from Abdel’s family house window. Abdel started to rebuild his house with his own resources. It took three years, as the works were progressing as much as the family budget allowed. Then a charity organisation helped to buy doors and windows. To move back they need only some finishing works like sanitary installations. Before it would not be a problem as Abdel held a manager position in the textile factory producing fabrics. However now, when he is retired, with two students at his charge and skyrocketing prices, he cannot afford. ACN decided to help this Christian family! Abdel hopes to return to his place. He would like to be nearer to his church, as he is an active parishioner and helps on volunteer basis in the Christian orphanage. He also hopes his children will successfully finish their education and get married. He hopes for a better future for his grandchildren, so they stay in Syria, instead of being forced to migrate, like his son, who is in Germany since three years. When he speaks about his son he has tears in his eyes. He is happy that his son is pursuing his career as physician specialised in cardiology, but when will he see him?

Archbishop Arbach is enthusiastic about the reconstruction. “People need this help” – he explains and highlights that it can also prevent the massive flow of Christians from Syria. “It is the 8th year of the war – he continues – young man are fleeing because of the conscription for the National Army. Notwithstanding there are other reasons: security, poverty or lack of job opportunities. Many Christians migrated to European countries by the Mediterranean Sea and through Turkey; many are also those who wait for visas allowing them to enter Europe, Canada, Australia or Latin America. Supporting houses’ reconstruction, we can help Christians to stay in Syria. This is their homeland.”