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Syrian Christian Refugees in Lebanon Have Little to Celebrate This Season

Syrian Christian refugees in Lebanon will celebrate Christmas but worry for their future, writes Fernande van Tets.
A Syrian refugee girl looks from behind a plastic sheet inside the makeshift tent where she temporarily lives with her family in Bar Elias village in the Bekaa valley December 13, 2012.REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi    (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Zahle, Lebanon — A funeral mass many not sound like a festive occasion, but it is one of the initiatives by charities and churches to alleviate the suffering of Syria’s Christian refugees in Lebanon this Christmas. “Many people had to flee before being able to bury their dead,” says Issam John Darwish, archbishop of the Melkite Catholic diocese of Zahle. The funeral will commemorate more than 300 people. 

The diocese is also distributing heating fuel and food packages to the 400 families that have registered with Zahle’s more than 130 local churches. Christian charities such as Caritas are distributing clothes to Syrian refugees to mark the holidays, and World Vision has organized Christmas plays through which refugees are encouraged to find the holiday spirit.

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