VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Unless western nations immediately find ways to bring peace to Syria instead of debating whether to arm opposition forces, the country will continue to be in turmoil and a victim of the West’s indecision, said a Syrian patriarch.
“It’s truly a pity, a great pity to not think in terms other than ‘to arm’ or ‘not to arm,'” said Syrian-born Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III Laham of Damascus.
“No one is talking about more serious, more realistic, and more effective efforts for peace,” he told Vatican Radio April 18.
The patriarch had a private audience with Pope Francis earlier in the day, and he said he told the pope about the suffering in Syria.
According to the United Nations, more than 70,000 people — mostly civilians — have been killed and more than 3 million Syrians have been displaced inside the country since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began two years ago. In addition, some 1.1 million people have taken refuge in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
“We are dying, every day we are victims of chaos, we run the risk of being kidnapped, ending up victims of some explosion as simple bystanders, an explosion of a school, factory, university or church,” he said.
“There is a gross injustice in the consideration, evaluation of the situation” of Syria by western nations who seem to limit their options to whether they should arm the opposition against Assad’s regime when the real problem is “how to bring peace,” he said.
“We are the victims of your indecision,” he said, referring to the governments of the United States, France, England and other European nations.
Patriarch Laham said Syrians are hoping something good will come out of talks scheduled in June between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We hope the two countries can agree on how to end the crisis and not on whether to arm or not arm” the opposition because a prolonged, narrow debate will mean “there will only be still more victims, calamity, suffering and fighting in the whole Middle East,” he said.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103