Based in Aleppo, Sister Annie Demerjian also organises help for Hassake about 200 miles to the northeast. As it’s too dangerous for Christians to travel there from Aleppo – ‘the overland route passes through ISIS territory’ – she works with a Syriac Orthodox priest in Hassake.

During winter 2014-2015 they were able to get vital heating oil to about 100 Christian families as well as other essential supplies, including food.

But it’s not easy to send help from Aleppo: ‘In the past year we had to resort to a ruse. We wanted to send more than 600 anoraks for children and young people by bus to Hassake. But we were warned that ISIS could confiscate the goods if it was evident that they were coming from Christians for Christians. We were therefore helped by friendly Muslims who entered the name of a Muslim as the sender and a Muslim as the recipient on the delivery note. It worked.’

This article can be found in Mirror 0715.