Air strikes carried out by the United States, the United Kingdom and France against Syria on Friday constituted “unjust” and “brutal” aggression, say Syrian Christian leaders. Source: CNA.
President Donald Trump ordered the airstrikes along with the UK and France in a joint show of military force following the suspected use of chemical warfare by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A total of 105 missiles targeted chemical weapons facilities in the country on Friday.
Syria has been in the throes of a violent and turbulent civil war since 2011, which has killed nearly half a million people and left 10 million displaced.
In a statement released on the weekend, the Patriarchates of Antioch and all the East for the Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox and Greek-Melkite Catholic churches, condemned the attacks as pre-emptive and unjust, noting that there was not “sufficient and clear evidence” for the suspected chemical warfare attacks.
Furthermore, the patriarchs noted the timing of “this unjustified aggression against Syria, when the independent International Commission for Inquiry was about to start its work in Syria, undermines the work of this commission”.
The church leaders also noted the attacks were uncalled for from countries that have not been attacked by Syria, constituting a “clear violation of the international laws and the UN Charter, because it is an unjustified assault on a sovereign country, member of the UN”.
The patriarchs said that it was unlikely the air strikes will have the desired effect, and they will only serve to encourage terrorists in the country and further delay a peaceful solution to the war.
They called on the UN to advocate for peaceful solutions in Syria, and asked for the prayers of all churchgoers in the United States, France and the UK.
“We offer our prayers for the safety, victory, and deliverance of Syria from all kinds of wars and terrorism. We also pray for peace in Syria and throughout the world, and call for strengthening the efforts of the national reconciliation for the sake of protecting the country and preserving the dignity of all Syrians,” they said.
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Pope renews appeal for peace in Syria (Vatican News)