- Apr 16, 2021
The Christian population of Syria has been halved, from about 2 million since 2011, according to a new report by Christian advocacy groups Open Doors, Served, and Middle East Concern. The report found that between 50 and 80 percent of Christians have fled the countries of Iraq and Syria and that about 35 percent more wish to leave.
A major offensive backed by the United States is trying to drive the Islamic State group out of the northern Syrian City of Raqqa. Human rights groups are worried that the civilian population is getting caught in the crossfire.
“The use of internationally banned indiscriminate weapons is morally reprehensible,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace. They said the USCCB along with Pope Francis look to a “peace based on dialogue and negotiation.”
In Aleppo, Sister Maria Sponsa Iusti Ioseph says that Christians in Syria, though confronting incredibly harsh and difficult conditions, find solace and support in the prayers of other Christians around the world. Sponsa said that the words and prayers of Pope Francis were received with love in the war-torn country.
Pope Francis has sent a letter to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad appealing for peace and for humanitarian relief. The rebels have recently lost hold of the city of Aleppo and tens of thousands are besieged as the Syrian government marches in, supported by Russia and Iran.