Harsh winter looms for Syrian refugees

2012-12-18 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) With Syrian refugees now numbering over half a million, many of them face grim conditions as temperatures drop in the region and there is a looming shortage of essential winter supplies. Father Peter Balleis is the International Director for Jesuit Refugee Services and he says the Syrian refugees and displaced people face great hardship in the coming winter months:

Father Balleis told Vatican Radio's Susy Hodges that conditions are particularly acute in Syrian's second city of Aleppo which "is cut off from supplies" as it's virtually besieged. He says there are shortages in the city of "food and electricity" and therefore a lack of heating and that life for the local population "is getting very difficult."

Asked about the situation facing those Syrians who have fled their homes to neighbouring countries, Father Balleis reports that they too "face the same hardships." Some Syrian refugees, he adds, "have even returned to Syria from a refugee camp in Jordan" despite the war raging in their homeland. Father Balleis says there were reports that 3 Syrian refugee "children froze to death in that same camp in Jordan" .... and, he adds, "that says a lot" (about the harsh conditions there).

Listen to the extended interview with Father Balleis: