Aleppo, Syria, May 31, 2018 / 23:04 pm
The key to ending Syria’s ongoing conflict lies not with the local people, but with the leaders of the international community, said a Syrian-born Franciscan priest this week.
“We know that the solution today is not in our hands as Syrians. We know that the key [to building peace] is outside Syria, in the [hands of the] many, many, big countries of the world,” Fr. Ibrahim Alsabagh told a small group of journalists May 31.
Speaking after a press conference for the release of an Italian-language book on the rebuilding of Aleppo, he said he prays “with all my heart, that [powerful countries] could have a solution for us and for all these crises… a solution in which we can live in Syria.”
He said that minorities in Aleppo and throughout the Middle East are worried for the future, particularly about how the international community will decide to act on the Syrian crisis, since the impact on their community could be grave.
Alsabagh, 47, was born and raised in Damascus, and after a period serving as a Franciscan in Rome, in 2014 asked to be allowed to return to Syria to be a pastor in Aleppo. “Viene il Mattina,” or “The Morning Comes,” is Alsabagh’s second book on Aleppo.
Subtitled, “Aleppo, Syria. Repair the house, heal the heart,” the book relates the state of the city since 2016, including the progress of the material reconstruction and the healing of the people.
“I ask always for prayer. Because I believe deeply in the strength of prayer, even to continue our mission,” Alsabagh said, noting the 800-year history of a Franciscan presence in Syria. All that we have done is “because many people are praying for us.”
The priest also said it is important that people follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, because if everyone did so, “we would arrive to peace in all the world and we would arrive at the solution to the many, many crises and problems that we have.”