Vatican City, Mar 14, 2021 / 07:00 am
Pope Francis urged the world not to forget the ongoing suffering of the “martyred” people of Syria on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the start of the Syrian war.
“Ten years ago, the bloody conflict in Syria began, which has caused one of the most serious humanitarian catastrophes of our time,” Pope Francis said after the Angelus prayer on March 14.
Speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace, the pope said that the decade-long war in Syria has left “an unknown number of dead and wounded, millions of refugees, thousands disappeared, destruction, violence of all kinds, and immense suffering for the entire population, especially for the most vulnerable, such as children, women, and the elderly.”
Pope Francis prayed for an end to the conflict and a renewed commitment from the international community for rebuilding efforts.
“I renew my heartfelt appeal to the parties to the conflict that they show signs of good will, so that a glimmer of hope can open up for the exhausted population,” he said.
“I also hope for a decisive and renewed commitment that is constructive and supportive from the international community, so that, once arms have been laid down, the social fabric can be mended and reconstruction and economic recovery can begin.”
March 15 is considered to be the start of the Syrian war. The conflict began in 2011 when demonstrations sprang up across the country protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president and leader the country's Ba'ath Party. In April of that year, the Syrian army began to deploy to put down the uprisings, firing on protesters.
The civil war has been fought among the Syrian regime and a number of rebel groups. The rebels include moderates, such as the Free Syrian Army; Islamists such as Tahrir al-Sham and the Islamic State; and Kurdish separatists.