Damascus, Syria, Aug 25, 2012 / 15:38 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Syrian rebel forces have trapped over 12,000 Greek Catholics in a village near the Lebanese border, causing shortages of food, medicine and other urgent supplies.
For over 10 days the village of Rableh in the area of Homs has suffered under a strict blockade from armed opposition forces that have surrounded it, Fides news agency says. Snipers have killed at least three men of the village, including a married father of four.
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gergorios III Laham has appealed to men of good will to ensure that “Rableh is saved and all other villages affected in Syria.” He has asked “for peace to be reached in our beloved country.”
Archbishop Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio to Syria, has asked both sides of the conflict to adhere to “the strict observance of the international humanitarian law.”
Rebels began an armed revolt against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. Since then, more than 200,000 people have fled the country. Government forces drove out rebels from a Damascus suburb of Daraya on Friday.
The international pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need is helping an unnamed Syrian village in a situation similar to Rableh’s.