Vatican City, Oct 15, 2020 / 12:00 pm
The apostolic nuncio to Syria met with diplomats accredited to the Vatican Thursday to inform them that an estimated 11 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Cardinal Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Syria since 2008, said that, after nearly 10 years of war, the Syrian people had now been hit with a “poverty bomb” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Zenari explained that “many Syrians have lost hope,” while lamenting that Syria seemed to have disappeared off the “media radar.”
A statement from the Holy See press office Oct. 15 said that the cardinal met with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall to “rekindle attention toward the situation in Syria.”
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin also expressed his hope at the meeting that the world would not grow accustomed to the “litany of horrors that every day comes to us from that tormented nation,” according to the press office.
Syria, which has an estimated population of 17.5 million, is facing an unprecedented hunger crisis, according to the United Nations World Food Programme. It estimates that 9.3 million Syrians are food insecure -- an increase of 1.4 million people from the beginning of 2020 -- as economic instability has increased the cost of food.
Zenari told diplomats that the sanctions imposed on Syria “inexorably affect the population,” highlighting the problem of missing and detained persons in Syria.
In an interview published in L’Osservatore Romano Sept. 18, Cardinal Zenari said that international sanctions imposed on Syria have had “quite negative effects.”