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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Sunday, April 30, 2017

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Damascene churchman rejects escalation
Catholic News Service

Unless western nations immediately find ways to bring peace to Syria instead of debating whether to arm opposition forces, the country will continue to be in turmoil and a victim of the West’s indecision, a Syrian patriarch argues.

“It’s truly a pity, a great pity to not think in terms other than ‘to arm’ or ‘not to arm,’” said Syrian-born Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III Laham of Damascus.

“No one is talking about more serious, more realistic, and more effective efforts for peace,” he told Vatican Radio.

More than 70,000 people -- mostly civilians -- have been killed and more than 3 million Syrians have been displaced inside the country since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began two years ago. In addition, 1.1 million people have taken refuge in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
“We are dying,” he said.

“There is a gross injustice in the consideration, evaluation of the situation” of Syria by western nations who seem to limit their options to whether they should arm the opposition against Assad’s regime when the real problem is “how to bring peace,” he said.

Syrians are hoping something good will come out of talks scheduled in June between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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