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'Keep on working for peace'

As the Syria conflict enters its sixth year and peace talks resume in Geneva, Christian Aid implores the international community to keep on working for peace


The conflict has devastated millions of lives; more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and over one million injured. Half the population is displaced. With more than 4.6 million Syrians having fled the country and 6.6 million internally displaced Syria is the largest displacement crisis globally. Within the country 13.5 million remain in need of humanitarian assistance – including millions of children.
UN led peace talks resumed on Monday (14 March) in Geneva between Syria’s warring parties two weeks into a cessation of hostilities brokered by the US and Russia. The partial and temporary truce has seen reduced violence in Syria and more humanitarian aid getting into besieged areas; however both the opposition and the government have accused each other of violations.
Frances Guy, Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East said that while the cessation of hostilities "may be fraying", we must build on this brief respite to offer Syrians hope that their country can be rebuilt and that violence can come to an end. 
'We urge all parties to the conflict to help make the peace talks a success and bring an end to the conflict in Syria, help ensure continued humanitarian aid gets to those in need and give hope to the millions of people still suffering after 5 years of war. Shattered lives deserve to hope.
'As we reach the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian uprising it is easy to despair but despair is a betrayal of the positive and uplifting spirit of ordinary Syrians who continue to battle every day to help their fellow country men and women and who if given half a chance would return to rebuild their homes tomorrow.
'The cessation of hostilities is limited in effectiveness and the promises made at the donor conference in London at the beginning of February have not yet been translated into any real change on the ground.  And yet it was the spirit of Syrian NGOs that shone through in London which brings hope to those living in besieged areas and should be a source of strength to us all.
'Five years on, with many warring factions and many interfering outside powers, making a peaceful solution seem ever more difficult, international NGOs must continue to give voice to those Syrians bringing succour to those in need in Syria and we must continue to do what we can to help those who have sought refuge inside Syria, in neighbouring countries and in Europe.'
She added that thanks to the generosity of the British public, Christian Aid has raised more than £3 million for its Syria Crisis appeal, which has enabled partners to provide support to communities in desperate need.
Christian Aid has been working to respond to the needs of vulnerable Syrian refugees across the region since March 2013. Now, in response to the global refugee crisis, Christian Aid also works in Europe to support refugees on the move. For more information on our work, visit the Christian Aid website.

Baptist Times, 15/03/2016
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