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Nonsense: Syrian priest slams PM's plan for refugee camp schools

Thu 04 Feb 2016
By Antony Bushfield

A Syrian priest has condemned the prime minister's plan to get every Syrian refugee child back in school by the end of this year, declaring it "nonsense".

Speaking on Premier's News Hour Revd Nadim Nassar said: "Schools in refugee camps? What kind of nonsense is that? I visited the refugee camps in Lebanon, the situation is so dire that you don't believe hundreds of pounds have been spent, let alone hundreds of millions."

He was speaking after David Cameron called on world leaders to step up aid for the Syrian refugees.

Opening international talks on the refugee crisis in London, the Prime Minister called for a new approach focusing on helping people displaced by the fighting to rebuild their lives in the region.

PA Wire


International development secretary Justine Greening said the conference would take a "big radical step" to make sure every child affected by the Syrian crisis was back in school at the end of the year.

She said the work would target those in camps in neighbouring countries Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

But Mr Nassar, who also heads up the Awareness Foundation, rubbished that and warned Christians would lose out: "Everybody talks about the camps, what about the rest of the Syrians? Are they children of a lesser God?

"What about the rest of the Syrians who are on the road and who have lost everything?"

Toby Melville/PA Wire
David Cameron during the 'Supporting Syria and the Region' conference


Ben Stansall/PA Wire
US Secretary of State John Kerry addresses delegates at the 'Supporting Syria and the Region' conference


He added: "They want just to give like a plaster over the wound to shut up the voters in this country and say to the voters 'look at us we are helping the Syrians'.

"He's not helping the Syrians, he's adding to the problem."

Revd Nadim Nassar called for the UK Government to take proper action to end the five year conflict.

Following talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign ministers ahead of the main conference, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said it was essential that peace talks resumed as soon as possible.

"We recognise that it's difficult for the regime to be at the table talking to the opposition, it's difficult for the opposition to talk to the regime when their people at home are being killed through bombing and other forms of attack," he said.

"But we have to continue with this process because it is the only way to get a solution to the disaster which is engulfing Syria."

PA Wire


General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, Bishop Angaelos, said: "We pray for an effective discussion and fruitful outcome for those so desperately in need of the cooperation, collaboration and support of our world community.

"We give thanks for the immense generosity of both the British public and Her Majesty's Government, evident in the ongoing support provided to those throughout this war-torn region.

"It is however undeniable that much more needs to be done by state and non-state actors, as well as individuals. This must simultaneously address both the macro and micro levels of conflict-resolution for the area, and provision for individuals affected by this ongoing conflict.

"We pray that all those involved in this and similar initiatives "receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgement and equity" (Proverbs 1:2-4) as they become vehicles and instigators of a restoration of peace, safety and human dignity for so many so in need."

Revd Nadim Nassar speaking to Premier's Antony Bushfield:

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