The Vatican’s ambassador to Syria has warned that Syria has started its descent into hell, but speaking on Vatican Radio, Nuncio Mario Zenari would not comment on whether Syria was in the midst of a ‘civil war’.
“Syria has started its slide into hell. In addition to material destruction, the conflict is tearing at the heart. The destruction of homes, the dead and the wounded can be quantified, but the disintegration of the soul is impossible to measure,” he said.
“The death of innocent youth and their use a human shields or soldiers is an unacceptable crime,” the bishop said.
He appealed to the international community to do all it can to defend innocent victims exploited by the regime and rebels alike.
Warning of a media war with people scrambling for stories, it’s not always possible to believe what is written, he said.
Zenari denied that Christians were being targeted by particular persecutions and said they could bridge a gap in the country.
“It is the Christians’ mission to play the role of a link at all levels.”
“They’re active in very painful situations, such as in Homs where we have priests, nuns and monks … who are setting an example and risk their lives,” he said.
Zenari said the priests, nuns and monks were also helping to impose ceasefires and assisting people trapped in areas where they have come under attack.
He rejected reports by unspecified media that minority Christians were being targeted by some armed opposition groups.
Vatican news agency Fides reported on Tuesday that an ultimatum from Syrian armed opposition’s military chief, Abdel Salam Harba caused over 1,000 Christians to flee the town of Qusayr, near Homs.
Fides said Christians in Qusayr were reportedly no longer allowed to move around freely and forced to let Muslims pass first.
“So far, I would say that Christians share the same sad fate as all Syrians (…) I would not say that they are the object of particular discriminations, less so persecutions,” said Zenari.
According to Fides sources, “the situation is unsustainable in the area and exposed to total lawlessness.”
Continued tensions in the area are casting a shadow over Pope Benedict’s potential visit to Lebanon.
News category: World.