Syria: Catholic relief agency appeals for aid

2012-08-27 Vatican Radio

A Syrian military helicopter came down under fire and in flames in Damascus on Monday as President Bashar al-Assad's air force strafed and bombarded rebel-held districts in the capital and in Aleppo.

State television confirmed a helicopter had crashed in Damascus but gave no details. Opposition activists said rebels had shot it down. Opposition video footage showed a crippled aircraft burning up and crashing into a built-up area, sending up a pillar of oily black smoke.

A day after his enemies accused Assad's troops and sectarian militia of massacring hundreds of people in the town of Daraya near Damascus, the possible shooting down of the helicopter, the latest of several such successes claimed by lightly armed rebel fighters, bolstered morale. But, witnesses said, even more intense army bombardments followed.

Elsewhere in Syria, victims of the war continue to plead for help. The Catholic relief organisation, Aid to the Church in Need, is appealing for aid for a Syrian village near the border with Lebanon. Msgr. Waldemar Cisło of the Polish branch of Aid to the Church in need, is in Beirut. With Caritas Lebanon, they’re working to provide relief: “The Pontifical Association Aid to the Church in Need is calling to support the surrounded and besieged people in a small Syrian village on the border with Lebanon where 12000 people are cut off from the rest of the world. We connected with Caritas Lebanon who found a way on how to get things across to the village.”

Msgr. Cisło says the need is urgent: “Now we call upon the people of Poland and other countries to support this project of providing food and other goods to assist the people in their survival. The situation is very urgent and we need all the support you could provide for us. We ask you to pray for those people and for those who support them; and to those of you who can and wish to contribute, please do not hesitate to do so on the account of Aid to the Church in Need.”