Pope Francis on Sunday appealed to all parties who have influence in Syria to defend human rights and safeguard the civilian population in the rebel-held northern region of Idlib, which faces an imminent attack by government forces.
Pope Francis on Sunday made a heartfelt appeal for the people of Syria, telling the faithful gathered for the Angelus in St Peter’s Square that there were still the winds of war in the country and “unsettling news about the risk of a possible humanitarian catastrophe in the Province of Idlib.
The Pope invited the international community and other actors involved “to make use of the instruments of diplomacy, dialogue and negotiations, in compliance with international humanitarian law and to safeguard the lives of civilians.”
The Syrian province of Idlib and surrounding areas are the last major enclave held by rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
This week the United Nations called on Russia, Iran and Turkey to forestall a battle in Idlib which would affect millions of civilians.
Syria has suffered major destruction, while millions of workers have fled, been conscripted or killed.