Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support for our Peace Mission to Syria BUT we received word this morning that the mission has been postponed!
Denning and I were scheduled to leave tomorrow afternoon. This is a real shock!
The email sent to me and the other 15 delegates this morning reads:
For multiple reasons including the evolving security situation on the ground in Syria which has rendered accessibility to areas of Homs, Aleppo and even some areas in Damascus difficult, and given the importance of the peace mission to witness the work of Mussalaha in the major areas of conflict and for the peace mission to have an impact where it is most needed in those areas, it was decided to postpone the visit to a later date when movement will be less restricted.
I’ve been told off the record that you can’t even reach Damascus from Beirut at the moment. The fighting is just too intense.
This is a real body blow. We only received our itineraries yesterday and the schedule looked amazing – moving in and out of both government and rebel-controlled areas and meeting with representatives from both sides of the conflict, all of whom share a common commitment to peaceful reconciliation.
I confess that the assurance we received from our host, that they have “experience and credibility in negotiating the liberation of abducted people” was a little intimidating. Even so, the opportunity to join hands in this work with some of my heroes like Mairead Maguire and Patriarch Gregory III Laham overshadowed all such concerns.
The plan is to postpone the mission to later this month. Even so, this will only happen if the situation on the ground improves to the point where the organisers can have some confidence in the safety of the delegates.
In the meantime we’ll just do the best we can for the people of Syria from where we are. Denning and I have now been invited to be part of a big fundraiser for Syria on Sunday. I guess that will be a start.
Again, thank you for your prayers and support. Continue to pray for the people of Syria. From everything I hear the situation is degenerating to the point where the most inhuman acts of violence are being inflicted on men, women and children across the country, and those of us in ‘the West’ must share some of the responsibility for this horror. May God have mercy on us all.
Your brother in the Good Fight,