Pope Francis appeals to the international community for peace in Syria
Pope Francis launches a renewed appeal for the international community to protect the many people suffering in northwestern Syria, where a government offensive has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe, Vatican News reports.
“Painful reports are still emerging from northwestern Syria, particularly regarding the plight of so many women and children, as well as of people forced to flee because of a military escalation.” Pope Francis expressed his concern for Syrians in Idlib province at the Angelus prayer on Sunday.
He also appealed to the international community and to all parties involved to “make use of diplomatic channels, dialogue, and negotiation” to end the conflict and “to safeguard the lives and welfare of civilians.”
The Pope then invited everyone to pray for “beloved and martyred Syria”.
The offensive was launched by the Syrian government forces and backed by Russia to regain control over Idlib province, the last stronghold of rebel armed forces.
As a result, more than half a million people were forced to leave their homes from which 90 thousand left in the past four days alone. Most of them are heading towards the Turkish border.
Pope Francis has payed attention to the Syrian civil war and humanitarian crisis since the beginning of his papacy. After 18 days after his election, Pope Francis urged peace in not just Syria but the whole Middle East. In the same year in 2013, he had sent a letter to president Vladimir Putin in which he eluded on certain obstacles that hinder the solution to end the conflict.
Pope Francis also wrote a letter to president Bashar Hafez al-Assad. In it, the Pope called for the protection of civilian life, an end to the humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib province, concrete initiatives for a safe return of displaced persons, the release of detainees and access for families to information regarding their loved ones, and humane conditions for political prisoners.
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