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Vatican City, Jul 22, 2019 / 04:52 am (CNA).- 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.
“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.
Pope - Appeal - Letter - Assad - July
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.
Statement - Press - Office - Director - Matteo
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.
Pope - Francis - Appeal - Lives - Civilians
“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.
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