January 2017


From the end of December a truce has been on force in Syria. It was proclaimed by Russia, Turkey and Iran, and was followed by the talks of Astana, Kazakhstan which effectively redesigned external influences in the war, excluding the US and giving a secondary role to the Arab states of the Gulf.
Through the acquaintanceship we have among the refugees we were able to deliver the Proposal for Peace at this table too, despite knowing that it is improbable that demands by civilians who are not fighting will be listened to, but also knowing that a peace made without them will be unfair. Until now the truce have been holding.


The weather was tough with rain, cold and hail. The night temperature dropped below zero: families awakened in a flooded camp or covered by hail ice. The tents in Tel Abbas are increasingly better insulated from the cold, but in some tents water entered anyway. One of our volunteers collected some funds in her hometown, Modena, and after asking the camp moms for advice on how to use the donations, waterproof shoes and clothes were bought for all the children of the camp.

Families from Aleppo have been continuing to arrive in Lebanon. Even if the borders are officially closed, there are still some areas where, paying and making debts, you can pass. In recent rainy days volunteers went visiting a new group of seven families coming from the Aleppo area.

They live in tents, makeshift structures, newly built with only a plastic sheet to isolate from the cold and muddy ground. The father of one of these families told us that he had been in Lebanon for a few years, he worked and lived in Beirut. He ended up living in those tents after making debts to allow all his family, 9 children, who were still stuck in Aleppo, to reach him. The person with whom he is in debt allow him to live in the camp and employ him in the fields of the land owner, picking potatoes. Even one of the older daughters has to work. She is eight years old.

All the people who live there are in debt with the camp Shawish, not even knowing how much the debt is or how long it will take to pay it back.The Shawish is the chief of the camp and works as a mediator with the land owner and with organizations that distribute aid. More and more often, people, especially the newcomers in the camps, tell us that the humanitarian aid delivered to the Shawish for distribution do not reach all families.

Families coming from Aleppo told us that since the city has been controlled by regime forces, houses and shops have been robbed every day. Civilians can be stopped on the street by the militias, sometimes formed by boys of 15 or 16 years old, and robbed or killed in public executions.

We continued the accompaniments at the hospital trying to help families to move around within a disordered and inaccessible bureaucracy, the high costs of the Lebanese health system and the fear of having problems with the Lebanese army while travelling.

January was a busy month full of emotions: at the end of the month some families left for Italy, where Operazione Colomba volunteers were waiting for them, together with people who welcomed them in their cities and, in some cases, siblings and grandchildren. These include Abu Abdo family, who had supported the presence of Operazione Colomba in Lebanon in a thousand ways, helping to manage the tent, offering thousand lunches and breakfasts, playing cards, dreaming together a future with more hope for his family and families around here … cold, laughter, hope, tears and fears, our daily bread.