VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Calling the war in Syria “inhumane,” Pope Francis called for an end to the fighting, immediate access to humanitarian aid for those in need and the evacuation of the injured and infirm.
“My thoughts often turn to that beloved and martyred Syria where the war has intensified, especially in eastern Ghouta,” he said Feb. 25 after praying the Angelus with people gathered in St. Peter Square.
“This month of February has been one of the most violent in seven years of conflict: hundreds, thousands of civilian victims — children, woman, the elderly. Hospitals have been hit and people can’t get anything to eat,” he said.
“All of this is inhumane,” he said. “Evil cannot be fought with evil. And war is an evil.”
The pope then launched a “heartfelt appeal that the violence immediately end, that access to humanitarian aid — food and medicine — be given and that the injured and ill be evacuated” from an area under rebel control.
The pope’s appeal came after intensified fighting in eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus.
Although the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Feb. 24 for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria, government forces continued their weeklong offensive against the rebel-held suburb of Ghouta. Humanitarian groups reported more than a dozen civilians were hospitalized for symptoms suspected to be associated with a chlorine gas attack.
At least 500 people had been killed in the fighting in the week before the pope spoke, and the remaining residents — 400,000 people, down from 2 million before the civil war started in 2011 — continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing 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.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103