President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, has said about the Battle for Aleppo: "This is beyond doubt one of the most devastating urban conflicts in modern times." Around 250,000 people remain trapped in Aleppo's rebel-held east. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu describes them as "hostages," unable to flee because the rebels have mined the humanitarian corridors and manned them with snipers. Meanwhile, more than a million citizens -- including some 40,000 mostly Assyrian and Armenian Christians -- remain in Aleppo's government-held west.
Despite the dire situation, western Aleppo's churches continue to serve and minister. The deputy director of the public assistance department at Aleppo's Orthodox Sunday schools, Samir Samaan, reports that Aleppo's Saint Elias Cathedral is caring for about 4,000 newly displaced families -- half of them Muslim, half of them Christian. Similarly, Jesuit priest Father Ziad Hilal said the churches are working to feed those left in Aleppo, regardless of their religion. "We give about 7,500 meals every day."
"On one side things are dark, things are sad," the church leader continues. "On the other hand, we see the activities of the church and how the people, especially the Christian associations, are helping. They are providing a sign of hope. Our mission is important there." Father Ibrahim describes it as "a miracle," noting that all the while, Christians in Aleppo are fasting and praying that "the will for peace" shall prevail "over the will for war." In essence, may the light of Christ overcome the darkness so that many more Syrians will discover the way of God's salvation.
Pray that the Lord of hosts will intervene in Aleppo to "preserve all who love Him" and "frustrate the way of the wicked" (Psalm 145:20; Psalm 146:9). Intercede that the Spirit of God will subvert the rebellion so the "will for peace" shall indeed prevail over "the will for war." May the Lord provide for Aleppo's churches, ensuring that they are equipped with the necessary funds, resources and workers to continue serving and ministering as lights in the darkness (Matthew 5:14-16).