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Syrian Christian leader tells West: ‘Stop arming terror groups who are massacring our people’

Friends of Syria

Pope Francis (R) talks with Ignatius Aphrem II, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, during a meeting at the Vatican, on June 19, 2015. Pope Francis (R) talks with Ignatius Aphrem II, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, during a meeting at the Vatican, on June 19, 2015.

by Ruth Gledhill

The world leader of Syria’s besieged Christians has issued a heartfelt plea to the West to “stop arming and supporting terrorist groups that are destroying our countries and massacring our people.”

The Patriarch of Antioch, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, said he was not asking the West for military intervention to defend Christians.

If the West wants to do something about the present crisis, the most effective thing would be to support local governments, which need sufficient armies and forces to maintain security and defend respective populations against attacks.

“State institutions need to be strengthened and stabilised. Instead, what we see is their forced dismemberment being fuelled from the outside,” he told Vatican Insider.

Patriarch Aphrem, head of the Syrian Orthodox Church, said the…

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