Vatican envoy reminds UN of appalling losses in Syria's civil war
July 24, 2013
The Holy See’s representative at UN headquarters in New York has renewed the Vatican’s appeal for international efforts to end the civil war in Syria and ease “the unbearable suffering of its people.”
In a July 23 address to a Security Council meeting on the Middle East, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt called attention to the enormous casualties of the fighting in Syria, highlighted by a death toll of nearly 5,000 monthly since last year. There are now 1.8 million refugees from Syria—nearly 10% of the country’s entire population—seeking security in neighboring countries, while an even larger number, driven from their homes by the fighting, are displaced within Syria.
Archbishop Chullikatt said that the fighting has been “exacerbated by outside influences and extremist groups which see it as an opportunity for political or ideological gains.” And he reported a “devastating impact” on the country’s Christian minority, which has maintained a steady presence in Syria for centuries. “These days the Christian community faces numerous challenges for its very survival in the region,” he said.
Decrying the unwillingness of both government and rebels to engage in negotiations, and the continuing bloodshed that has resulted, the archbishop insisted that “there can be no military solution for the Syrian conflict.”