Carmelite nuns refuse to leave Aleppo – stay to relieve suffering

Carmelite nuns are refusing to abandon the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo, preferring to stay and relieve suffering. This is despite intense bombing from both Syrian and Russian forces and severe food shortages.

Only 40,000 Christians are left in Aleppo, according to reports.

“The bombs are falling all around us, but we are not going to leave the people in their suffering,” said Sr. Anne-Francoise, a French nun from a community of Discalced Carmelites in Aleppo. “The people here are suffering and dying.”

The nun’s comments came in a statement released by the Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

ACN has been trying to draw attention to the plight of the northern Syrian city where suffering from the five-year old civil war has reached a critical point.

In recent weeks Aleppo has seen fierce clashes between Syrian government troops, backed by Russian air power, and opposing rebels as the two sides battle for control of the city.

The Carmelite convent is situated on the outskirts of Aleppo, an area under constant siege. Sister Anne-Françoise explained: “When the Syrian army attempts to prevent the opposition and other groups from entering into the city, the bombing and shelling is really close to us.

“Thank God, they haven’t hit us yet, but we are constantly hearing the shells pass over our heads.”

The Carmelite nuns, four of whom are Syrian and two French, have taken in a number of refugee families and are also supporting other families with the few resources they have.

Syrian government troops have reportedly completely encircled rebel-held neighborhoods last week, cutting off all supply lines to the enclave.


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