“There is nothing to eat. There is nothing worse than to see people in the streets looking for something to eat for their children. … There are so many people here that need operations and or specialist medical treatment but have to wait a long time, and are forced to go through immense suffering.”
“As long as there is one person from our community left here, I will stay with them.”
Fr Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch Jesuit priest, who had spoken these words in January was shot dead this morning, April 7. A masked gunman opened fire on Fr van der Lugt, killing him instantly.
Having lived in Syria for almost 50 years, Fr van der Lugt had championed the plight of the ordinary people he had served. In February UN and Red Crescent workers evacuated more than 1,300 civilians from the Old City during a temporary truce. Fr. van der Lugt, along with Syrian Jesuit Fr Ziad Hilal, 40, had chosen not to escape to safety but to stay living alongside the 74 Christians and a few hundred Muslim civilians caught between government and opposition forces fighting for control of the area.
This is not the time for more words!