The chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference International Affairs Department, has called on the UK government to help protect Syria’s civilians as fighting in Idlib intensifies.
Bishop Declan Lang stated: “Today in Idlib we are witnessing fresh violations of human dignity being inflicted upon civilians who have already suffered almost a decade of violence.
Pope Francis has warned that a ‘pall of silence’ risks falling over the conflict and has called upon the international community to ‘devise suitable and far-sighted solutions capable of enabling the beloved Syrian people, exhausted by war, to regain peace and to begin the reconstruction of the country.’
I call upon our own government to redouble its efforts towards upholding international law, protecting civilians and ending the fighting.”
The United Nations has warned that more than 1,500 civilians have been killed and half a million displaced since the Syrian government’s offensive in the province began. It has warned that atrocities including the deliberate targeting of hospitals may amount to war crimes.
Bishop Declan added: “The UK’s Catholic community also has an important role to play in welcoming refugees, supporting charities delivering humanitarian assistance and offering our prayers for all the people of Syria.”