A Caritas centre in Aleppo received a direct hit from a rocket on 22 January. Nobody was hurt in the attack, but one of the offices was badly damaged.
Poor Syrian families affected by three-year conflict in Syria regularly come to the Caritas centre for food, rent assistance and clothing. It is located within the Chaldean diocesan compound.
Parish priest and Caritas Aleppo board member Fr. Toni Ghazzi was on his way to open the centre at 4pm when the attack happened. He was with some children.
The rocket skidded in front of them. All were thrown to the ground. The explosive then ricocheted into the Caritas centre, destroying the Office for Rent Assistance. The missile ended by in the waiting room for people Caritas helps. Fortunately it failed to explode.
The four person Rent Assistance Team should have been working in the office at the time, but their arrival had been delayed.
“We are only alive thanks to God and the protection of St. Joseph, patron of the Church,” said Mony Tayyar, the team leader.
At 5pm, the waiting room would have been full of people coming to the Caritas centre for food aid. Fr Ghazzi says it’s a miracle nobody was hurt.
The ‘Geneva II’ international conference on the crisis in Syria opened yesterday in Switzerland.
“We pray to God that He guides government officials and all responsible for the conflict in our beloved Syria to find a just solution and restore peace in the region,” said the Caritas Aleppo team in a message.
Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said the incident underlines the dangers to both ordinary people and humanitarians in Syria.
“Thanks be to God that nobody was hurt in the attack on Caritas Aleppo,” he said. “That a Caritas centre helping the most poor and vulnerable in Syria has been hit by a rocket underlines the urgency of an immediate ceasefire as the first step in finding a peaceful solution.”