Image of a souq in Damascus, on Flickr
Catholic leaders have called for negotiations to prevent a civil war in Syria, where the conflict between government supporters and opponents is being compared to last year's fight for control of Libya, reports the Catholic News Agency.
"Everybody is suffering in Syria because there is violence coming from every side," Maronite Archbishop Paul El-Sayeh of Antioch told the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need in remarks released on February 20.
"It is a desperate situation," the Beirut-based Lebanese archbishop said of the violence taking place across the border in Syria. "I wish everyone would sit down and negotiate. Problems cannot be solved by violence."
Archbishop El-Sayeh's hope for peace in Syria is shared by Pope Benedict XVI, who renewed his appeal for Syrians "to put an end to violence and bloodshed" in a recent Angelus address. The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land has also voiced its concern for the country in recent days.
In his February 12 Sunday Angelus message, Pope Benedict XVI said he was "following with great concern the dramatic and growing incidents of violence in Syria," while praying for the dead, the wounded, and "all those who suffer the consequences of an increasingly worrying conflict."
On that occasion, the Pope invited "everyone – and above all the political authorities in Syria - to favor dialogue, reconciliation and a commitment to peace." He said it was "urgent to respond to the legitimate aspirations" of Syrians, as well as concerns of the international community.
Church leaders appeal for talks to prevent Syrian civil war (Catholic News Agency)
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