In the Syrian city of Hassake, where the counter-offensive of the Kurdish forces and the Syrian army has put the outlying suburbs under siege still occupied by jihadi militias of the Islamic State that had attacked the town in late June, public health and food emergencies that affect the civilian population have pushed Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo to take even positions of public character.
“I have become responsible for the cleaning, the waste emergency, the pest control and all the services that have to do with public health”, says to Agenzia Fides Mgr. Hindo.
“The conflict, added the Archbishop, puts the population in danger and at risk of epidemics. It all becomes even more complicated with the summer heat. I have taken charge of these needs because I saw that no one would do it, and I coordinate a team of 130 operators – including almost 100 Muslims – who work in neighborhoods inhabited by 400 thousand people, and do not ask for any money. People say: ‘the bishop has almost become the mayor of the city’. We need trucks to collect waste. But now we do not know exactly where to find them”.Syrian Catholic Archbishop Hassaké-Nisibi highlights the problems the Syrian population faces, caught between the violence of the conflict and the urgency of addressing daily needs.
With regard to developments in the conflict, Mgr. Hindo rejects interpretations circulating in the West that see in the Syrian civil war a consequence of the conflict between Shiites and Sunnis: “The Islamic State, the Archbishop told Fides, is the brainchild of Wahhabi ideology and the money of Saudi Arabia, that wants to get its hands on everything. The majority of Sunnis have nothing to do with those of Daesh. Their mass movement, in our country, is made up of tribes that until some time ago did not know a single Sura of the Koran. Families with many children now enlist in the ranks of Daesh and earn a lot of money which they have never seen in their entire lives. They are people used to siding with those who pay them and with those in power”.