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Christian refugees unlikely to return to Syria, Iraq, prelate fears

December 09, 2016

The Christian refugees who have fled from violence in Syria and Iraq are not likely to return under current conditions, according to the apostolic administrator of the Jerusalem patriarchate.

“No one knows what the future holds,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa. “They left and it is unlikely they will return.”

“The situation is tragic” in Syria, the Franciscan prelate said. “It is a country that has ceased to exist; it is destroyed.”

The apostolic administrator—who previously headed the Franciscan custody of the Holy Land, said that the radicalization of Muslim youth has caused enormous problems for the region. He said that the conflict sweeping the Middle East should be understood primarily as a “war between Muslims,” but Christians are experiencing the brutal consequences. The problem is also spreading, he reported; the radical Islamic ideologies are now reaching into Jordan as well as Syria and Iraq.

Regarding the prospects for a peace agreement that might curb the tensions between Israel and Palestine, Archbishop Pizzabella answered simply: “I have to be honest; there’s nothing at the moment.”

 
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