Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi reader, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Pope Francis petitions Assad to protect weak and defenseless in Syria

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By (CNA/EWTN)
7/22/2019 (2 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis, with concern for the humanitarian crisis in bombarded Idlib, has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to safeguard the weak and defenseless civil population in his country.

Highlights

By (CNA/EWTN)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
7/22/2019 (2 months ago)

Published in Europe


Vatican City, (CNA) - "The Holy Father asks the president to do everything possible to stop this humanitarian catastrophe, to safeguard the defenseless population, especially the weakest, in compliance with International Humanitarian Law," Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin told Vatican News July 22.

The pope's appeal was made in a letter delivered to Assad July 22 by Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, during a meeting with the president in Damascus.

Also present at the meeting were the apostolic nuncio to Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari, and Fr. Nicola Riccardi, undersecretary of the Integral Human Development dicastery.

According to a statement by press office director Matteo Bruni, Francis' letter makes particular reference to the situation of the civil population in Idlib.

Idlib, located on the Turkish border in northwestern Syria, is the last major rebel stronghold in the country. Since Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air cover, launched an offensive in late April, the city has seen intensive airstrikes and bombardment, resulting in the death of more than 2,000 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands.

At least 19 people, including 16 civilians, were killed, and dozens injured, Monday in an airstrike on a market in Idlib. The strike followed one day after other air raids in the region killed 18.

"Pope Francis renews his appeal to protect the lives of civilians and preserve the main infrastructures, such as schools, hospitals and health facilities," Parolin said. "Indeed what is happening is inhuman and cannot be accepted."

Parolin said the pope's letter to Assad encourages the president to show "goodwill" and to make an effort to find "viable solutions" to end a conflict which has lasted too long and taken a large number of innocent lives. 
Pope Francis is worried about the stalled negotiation process, Parolin said, and urges the use of diplomacy, dialogue, and negotiation. He recalled a phrase of the pope repeated in the letter, that "war provokes war and violence provokes violence."

According to Parolin, in his letter Francis gives several concrete examples of steps which should be taken, such as the creation of safe conditions for internally and externally displaced people to return home if desired, the release of prisoners, and access for families to information about loved ones.

The letter also addresses political prisoners, which Parolin said is a situation "particularly close at heart for Pope Francis."

Citing a March 2018 report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Parolin said there are tens of thousands of people arbitrarily detained, sometimes in unofficial prisons where they may be tortured and executed.  

Pope Francis also sent a letter to Assad at the end of 2016, appealing for a peaceful resolution to hostilities and an end to extremism.

The Syrian civil war began in March 2011 with demonstrations against the nation's president, Bashar al-Assad. The war has claimed the lives of more than 500,000 people, and forced 5.6 million to become refugees. Another 6.6 million Syrians are believed to have been internally displaced by the violence.

The civil war is being fought among the Syrian regime and a number of rebel groups. The rebels include moderates, such as the Free Syrian Army; Islamists such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Islamic State; and Kurdish separatists.


Comments


More Europe

Vatican denies Indian nun's appeal of dismissal from religious life for disobedience Watch

Image of View of St. Peters Basilica and Vatican City flag

The Congregation for the Oriental Churches has rejected the appeal of Sister Lucy Kalapura, who was dismissed from religious life in August ... continue reading


Amazon synod discussion groups support married priests, female deacons Watch

Image of Pope Francis

At least four of the 12 language groups at the Amazon synod overtly propose the ordination of married men to the priesthood in summary ... continue reading



Analysis: A pink dolphin, a carved image, and inculturation at the Amazon synod Watch

Image of Female figure synod 2019

At a "moment of Amazon spirituality" Oct. 16, in a church just down the street from St. Peter's Square, a woman told the Amazonian folk ... continue reading


Poland's ruling party accused of trying to ban sex education Watch

Image of

The governing party in the Polish parliament has introduced a bill that could criminalize some forms of sex education in schools. Warsaw, ... continue reading


Vatican communications official: Carved figure at Amazon synod not Virgin Mary Watch

Image of Carved figure at Amazon synod

Fr. Giacomo Costa, a communications official for the Amazon synod, said Wednesday a wooden figure of a nude pregnant woman, which has been ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.