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Patriarch rejects calls for outside military intervention in Syria

Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham (CNS/Khaled al Hariri, Reuters)

The head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church has rejected outright all calls for an international military intervention in Syria.

Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham urged Pope Francis and all Christian communities to “promote a concrete and realistic road map” to peace in the beleaguered nation.

“It is reckless to think of military interventions, conducted from the outside, to defend Christians in Syria and the Middle East,” said the patriarch, who is based in the Syrian capital Damascus.

“If we really want to bring an end to the tragedy of the Syrian people, there is only one way: enough war, enough arms, money and ploys used to attack Syria,” he told the Vatican’s Fides news agency.

The patriarch presided over a prayer vigil for peace at the Melkite Cathedral of the Dormition of Our Lady in Damascus on March 16. Through prayer, the patriarch told Fides, Christians demonstrate that they are “the true promoters of peace in Syria”.

The patriarch said he was “calling on Pope Francis, and on all churches and Christian communities, so that the two billion Christians worldwide, speaking with one voice, promote a concrete and realistic road map, asking all the forces in the field to put aside their calculations for power and the causes that fuel war”.