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‘Find a political solution to Syrian crisis,’ Pope Francis urges international community

Syrian children in a makeshift school, in a refugee camp in the eastern town of Kab Elias, Lebanon (AP)

Pope Francis is urging governments to find a political solution to the war in Syria as part a new campaign.

Caritas Internationalis, a global network of Catholic international aid and development agencies, is launching the Syria: Peace is Possible campaign with a video featuring the Pope.

“I would like to address all the faithful and all of those who work with Caritas to build a just society,” said Pope Francis in the video message.

He added that “peace is possible in Syria.” and that “everyone has to recognise that there is no military solution for Syria, only a political one.”

“The international community must therefore support peace talks towards the building of a national unity government,” the Pope said.

“I invite you to ask those who are involved in peace talks to take these agreements seriously and to commit to facilitating access to humanitarian aid.”

Dealing with the humanitarian consequences of the five year war in Syria is the largest Caritas relief operation in the world.

Caritas, including its Scottish member SCIAF, provides food, healthcare and other humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians with its organisations reaching 1.3 million people last year alone.

“While the people suffer an incredible amount of money is being spent on giving fighters weapons. Some of the countries providing these arms are also those talking of peace,” said Pope Francis, “How can one believe in those who caress you with the right hand while hitting you with the left?”

The Caritas campaign is supported by a new website which features specially commissioned artworks

Caritas Internationalis president, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, has met with Syrians in Lebanon and Greece.

“These are not just number, these are human beings. We need to give them hope, dignity and peace. In the names of all the people touched by this conflict, we are appealing to everyone, can we work for peace in Syria,” the cardinal said.

To back Sciaf’s SCIAF’s Syrian refugee appeal, go here.