Pope, Catholic leaders renew appeal for peace in Syria
Published: July 30, 2012
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI renewed his appeal for peace in Syria and humanitarian assistance for civilians threatened by the ongoing fighting or seeking refuge far from home. "I continue to follow with apprehension the tragic and increasing episodes of violence in Syria with their sad sequence of deaths and injuries, including among civilians, and a huge number of people internally displaced or seeking refuge in neighboring countries," the pope said July 29. After reciting the Angelus with visitors gathered in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict told the crowd that he hoped that suffering Syrians would be guaranteed the necessary humanitarian assistance. Asking for an end to "all violence and bloodshed," he prayed that God would guide leaders in Syria and in the international community to a negotiated settlement to the fighting. Tensions began in March 2011 with increased calls for the ouster of President Bashar Assad as part of the Arab Spring movement across North Africa and the Middle East. According to the United Nations, about 10,000 people have died in Syria in the past 16 months, tens of thousands have fled to other countries and hundreds of thousands are internally displaced. The pope spoke as fighting continued in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and home to substantial Christian communities.
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