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Published on 25 March 2020

As the Syrian crisis entered its tenth year, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief and World Jewish Relief came together to organise an inter-faith prayer vigil outside the Houses of Parliament to raise awareness about the on-going conflict in the country, and to demonstrate solidarity with our local partner organisations working to provide assistance and protection to people caught up in the fighting and refugees seeking a place of sanctuary from the violence.

As our plans got underway, the Coronavirus epidemic spread around the globe and to the UK also; impacting on the lives of our staff, our volunteers, their families and communities up and down the country. Whilst our initial plan to convene the prayer vigil outside Parliament could not go forward, the participating agencies and faith leaders involved wanted to find an alternative way to demonstrate their solidarity with people in Syria, whilst also finding a safe way to come together – and so we took the prayer vigil online.

Nine years of violence in Syria have devastated its health system, and millions have been displaced from their homes are living in difficult and often cramped conditions. A million have been displaced in Idlib, to the north of the country, since December 2019 and many of these are living in open, cramped tents and make-shift shelters putting them particularly at risk as the first cases of Coronavirus have been reported in Syria over the past week. The faith leaders in our video want to demonstrate solidarity and highlight our common humanity as people around the world, including in the UK and Syria, face the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Viewers – of all faith backgrounds, as well as those that do not follow these religions –  are invited to join in a moment of quiet reflection and prayer.

To find out more about our EU funded work supporting young people to access education in Syria look here