Pope calls for ‘urgent’ end to Syria conflict

Pope calls for ‘urgent’ end to Syria conflict
Sun May 25, 2014 10:16:22

Pope Francis has called for an "urgent" end to the Syrian conflict as he has started a three-day trip to the Middle East.

Francis deviated from his prepared remarks to make a strong plea for peace during his first day in Jordan, praying for God to "convert those who seek war, those who make and sell weapons!"

The appeal came during a meeting with refugees, just moments after the pontiff bent down at the Jordan River, where some believe was the site of Jesus' baptism.

Francis also thanked Jordan for its "generous welcome" to Syrian refugees and called for an urgent resolution to the foreign-hatched war next door.

"I urge the international community not to leave Jordan alone in the task of meeting the humanitarian emergency caused by the arrival of so great a number of refugees, but to continue and even increase its support and assistance."

Jordan last month opened a third refugee camp for Syrians who fled the civil war at home, evidence of the strains the conflict is creating for the country.

Jordan is currently hosting 600,000 registered Syrian refugees, or 10 percent of its population, but Jordanian officials estimate the real number is closer to 1.3 million.

"Peace isn't something which can be bought; it is a gift to be sought patiently and to be crafted through the actions, great and small, of our everyday lives," he said.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants operating inside the country.


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