Easter is a very dangerous day for Christians living in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. “The day of Easter, we have received plenty of bombs in our churches, but also in our residential areas,” Aleppo’s Greek Catholic archbishop told The Daily Caller News Foundation during a tour of the United States. “Many houses, many apartments have been demolished and we have had 15 casualties, 15 innocent people killed and around 40 injured.”
Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart sat down with TheDCNF to discuss his city, which is at the center of the fighting in Syria’s four-year civil war. Amid the chaos, Jeanbart continues serving the Christians who have lived in the city for centuries.
Since this interview, Islamic State fighters have kept advancing on Aleppo, further threatening the lives and livelihoods of its citizens. And with Bashar Assad’s forces fighting nearby, it’s unlikely the United States will do anything to stop them. But Jeanbart, who has been a bishop for 20 years, feels a calling to stop Christians from fleeing their homeland.
“There is another fact, which is very important,” he says. “We have millions and millions of martyrs that irrigated the soil with their blood.”
WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE:
More highlights from our interview:
TheDCNF: You say you’ve seen difficulties in Aleppo since Easter. What have you seen?
Archbishop Jeanbart: The day of Easter, we have received plenty of bombs in our churches, but also in our residential areas. Many houses, many apartments have been demolished and we have had 15 casualties, 15 innocent people killed and around 40 injured. Everybody was really very scared and very anxious about what will happen if it continues.
TheDCNF: Do you fear for your life?
Jeanbart: I must say that of course. I could have some fear. But I’ll say at the same time that I do not care because I have to work, I have to help my people.
TheDCNF: What about your flock?
Jeanbart: With what has happened since Easter, they are scared. Many of them come to ask us for help in getting out, and we do not have an answer — even though I have been fighting for 20 years, since I became a bishop, to fight against immigration and the exodus of Christians out of the country. It is not just the fact that the church was born here. There is another fact, which is very important: we have millions and millions of martyrs that irrigated the soil with their blood.
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