A project partner of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in Syria who has been ministering to persecuted Christians has warned that “a big bomb” of hunger is exploding across the country.

Speaking to ACN , Sister Annie Demerjian of Aleppo, Syria, said that the country’s deteriorating economy had caused a mass exodus.

She said: “One family sold their house and gave the money to a group who they thought would get them out of the country by taking them to Turkey. But the money didn’t get them anywhere and now they are without a house and money.

“They are trying to get their money back. All the families are trying to leave Syria.”

Speaking about the danger widespread food shortages pose, she said: “The big bomb now is the hunger. The war we are fighting now is against hunger. The money we are giving them [the families] is not enough.”

Spiralling poverty, rising inflation and a stagnant job market have left ordinary Syrians living on the breadline.

Sister Annie said: “Last winter, we met a family with three children. Their state of life is very bad. They have nothing in their house. No mattress, no fridge, no lights. Nothing. We asked them, ‘How are you managing with this cold winter?’

“And they said that someone gave them a blanket and they put it on the floor and tried to manage. We tried to get a mattress for them and we put a small battery as a generator so they can charge it and use it.

“We have long cuts of electricity all over the country, sometimes there is water and sometimes there isn’t.”

Sister Annie also warned that Western sanctions against the Assad government are making life harder for ordinary Syrians.

She said: “For us in Syria now the situation is not so good concerning the economic state. Why? [Partly] because of the sanctions… The income of the family does not equal what they need to live on a daily basis.”

She finished saying: “I want to thank ACN’s benefactors because all of these years they’ve shown their great solidary and support. When part of your body is suffering then the whole part feels it…Our brothers and sisters put Syria in their hearts and took action.”