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Pope Francis urges warring parties in Syria to take ‘path of dialogue’

Pope Francis celebrates the canonisation Mass for five new saints on October 13, 2019 (CNS)

Holy Father laments the 'dramatic news' following Turkish incursion

Pope Francis on Sunday issued a ringing condemnation of ongoing violence in Syria, where Turkey has begun operations against positions held by ethnic Kurds in the northeastern part of the war-torn country.

The developments have added to tensions among various powers present in the conflict and strained relations with the United States, which has carried out operations with Kurdish forces but is a treaty ally with Turkey.

“Once again,” Pope Francis said in remarks to the faithful following Mass for the canonisation of St John Henry Newman and four women, “my thoughts turn to the Middle East, in particular to the beloved and martyred Syria, from which dramatic news yet again reaches us, regarding the fate of populations in the country’s northeast, who have been forced to abandon their homes due to the military action,” he said.

“Among these populations are many Christian families,” Pope Francis said.

“To all actors involved,” Francis continued, “and to the whole international community, I renew my appeal to commit themselves with sincerity to the path of dialogue, in order to find effective solutions.”

Shells fired by Turkish forces have reportedly fallen near US positions.

Local Christian leaders have expressed deep concern about the upsurge in fighting.