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Syria: «The people who remain are heroes»

Swiss clothing donations from Aramaic Relief have arrived: winter clothing is to help 10,000 refugees through the cold season in Nordirak.

Millions of Syrians are on the run from a merciless civil war. But there are also people who stay in their homeland. Her life is a single exception. Severiyos Aydin is Swiss with Aramaic roots. And one of the few who dare to provide help on the ground.

Vollständig zerstörter Strassenzug in der Altstadt der syrischen Stadt Homs. Ein Mann auf einem Fahrrad fährt die Strasse entlang.

KEYSTONE

It is one of the greatest humanitarian crises of post-war history. 250,000 dead, many of them civilians, one million injured and soon five million on the run, so the Uno balanced the end of March. While those who need help at the external borders of the European Union struggle with the characteristics of the European refugee concept, the surviving Syrians are struggling with a home that is in ruins.

«A huge rubble heap»

Most of the relief organizations have withdrawn, and journalists are hardly anywhere else. One of the few who help in this hell is Severiyos Aydin. The Swiss with Syrian roots set up the charity “Aramaic Relief International” in January 2013.

The purpose of its aid organization is to provide direct assistance to people in areas where the arm of the international community no longer suffices. Just last week, Aydin visited the Syrian city of Homs and the surrounding villages Sadad (5 km from the IS), Zaidal, Fairuza and Meskene. What he is telling is shocking.

“In all cases, these are places that have long been contested,” says Aydin. Like for example the big city Homs. For almost three years, it was a ruthless battle, now resembling a huge rubble heap. “The extent of the destruction was gigantic, even the historic old town was not spared.

Without help, these people also escape

In the distance, detonations can be heard, and grenades are exploding in the region. Although the checkpoints and military presence of Assad’s troops are relatively safe, Aydin says the area is still dangerous.

No one knows the exact numbers of those who are left behind. Aydin speaks of half a million people. “When I was there last week, I saw a lot of people who tried to follow their day-to-day life. That was very impressive. ”

[cs_quote  quote_cite=”Severiyos Aydin” quote_cite_url=”#” quote_text_color=”#333333″ quote_align=”left”]If the situation deteriorates, these people will also be forced to leave the country. [/cs_quote]

Their greatest concern was the progress of the war, their own security, and the humanitarian situation. “If the situation deteriorates, these people will also be forced to leave the country,” says Aydin in an interview with SRF News.

A huge love for the home

What distinguishes these people from those who have decided to flee is actually not answerable, says Aydin. Geographical, economic and political reasons would also play a role.

“I can tell about the people I recently met in Homs. As a Christian, I also have a strong interest in the persecution of minorities in the Middle East. These, together with the brutal conflict, also suffer from a strong persecution by Islamic groups of terrorists. ”

And yet, many of you would stay in the country. Even those who had once fallen into the hands of the miners of the Terrormiliz. “They always tell me about their enormous love for their homeland and the fear of fleeing into uncertainty,” says Aydin. They would have confidence in a speedy recovery. “This is heroic and difficult for us to understand,” adds Aydin, “the more important it is to work for these people on the ground.”

Aydin’s organization cooperates with local partners, including the humanitarian arm of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Projects include emergency aid for internally displaced families. With food, hygiene articles, shelter, medicine and financing of emergency operations.

The organization also supports families in the reconstruction of the bombed apartments, if this is still possible. “We help the other families with rented apartments by financing the monthly rent,” explains Aydin. Aramaic Relief is also the focus of youth.

At the time the school was beginning, says the young man. So in the last two weeks, they would have equipped 700 children with school supplies, schoolbooks and school-books. The students help the organization with the travel expenses and with the university fees so that they can continue their studies. In addition, “Aramaic Relief” maintains a children’s nursery project.

Hope for people in Switzerland

Aydin’s greatest desire is that you do not forget these people. Not the citizens of Europe, but also their politicians. “The winter is coming,” says Aydin, “that will be a very bad time for many people in Syria, but also in Northern Iraq, where we are working.”

For this, they are currently launching new projects. Projects which could not be realized without external help. Severiyos Aydin is also counting on the people from his home town, Switzerland.

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