End to Syrian violence urgently needed

A man carries a wounded girl who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus Jan. 7.

CNS PHOTO | BASSAM KHABIEH, REUTERS

A man carries a wounded girl who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus Jan. 7.

February 3, 2014

As world leaders gathered in the hopes of finding a peaceful solution to Syria’s three-year-long brutal conflict, Pope Francis asked that they spare no effort in bringing an end to the violence.

The pope also urged the people of Syria to rebuild their nation and see in the other “not an enemy, a rival, but a brother or sister to welcome and embrace.”

The pope made the appeal at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square Jan. 22, the day a major peace summit, dubbed “Geneva II” began in Switzerland.

The UN-sponsored talks brought world leaders together to help forge a solution to the crisis.

They also brought representatives of the Syrian government and major opposition figures together for direct talks for the first time.

A two-person Vatican delegation, led by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican observer to UN agencies in Geneva, was invited to attend the peace summit.