FOR PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN SYRIA
We call upon all local and international leaders to make every effort to protect civilians in Syria.
Communities in various parts of Syria have for some time now been the target of indiscriminate shelling or abuse directed at the elderly, women, children and the disabled. Arbitrary abductions for exorbitant ransom and intimidation or coercion have developed into a running sore. The number of innocent victims from remote and destitute populations is inexorably increasing. Recently, Rableh village, close to the border with Lebanon, was the scene of serious incidents of the sort.
We strongly urge that these gratuitous, unjustified attacks on peaceful, harmless folk be stopped. The international community ought not to underestimate these crimes that violate human dignity and contravene international conventions.
This appeal arises from our concern for the future of the many Syrian cities whose inhabitants, though undergoing all kinds of privations, abuse and threats for months now, still remain attached to their native land. I would like to express my paternal solidarity and fellowship with them in their sufferings.
My thanks go to the peace-makers, especially Musalaha representatives, who are dedicated to saving innocent lives all over Syria, calming people down so as to defuse disputes and spreading harmony with a view to sparing further bloodshed in Syria. This is inextricably linked with the chief concern of our pastoral and patriarchal ministry: for everyone to respect and protect the civilian population and save it from being the target of such horrors.
I beseech Heaven’s mercy upon the victims, patience and consolation for their relatives and wisdom and compassion towards the aggressors. May respect for the sacred rights of human beings, created in the image of the Merciful God who loves mankind, shine forth in Syria!