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     Home > Justice and Peace >  2013-06-21 17:20:53
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US Bishops push State Department to help end Syrian civil war



21 June, 2013 - Two US bishops have written to Secretary of State John Kerry urging their nation to work to end the Syrian civil war and promote humanitarian assistance to the country. “The reported use of chemical weapons, the UN estimate of over 93,000 deaths, the displacement of millions from their homes, and the kidnapping of two Orthodox archbishops on a mission of mercy all point to the devastation of the violent conflict in Syria and the urgent need for a negotiated ceasefire and political solution,” said Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson in a June 19 letter. Bishop Kicanas is chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services and Bishop Pates is chair of the U.S. bishops' conference Committee on International Justice and Peace. In a separate nationwide webcast June 20, World Refugee Day, Bishop Kicanas also said that Syrian refugees civil war deserve support from the international community in the form of food, water, shelter and education. He called upon governments to stop the shipment of arms to the Syrian government and rebel groups. "It's a situation that cries out for our response," Bishop Kicanas said of the refugee crisis building daily in Syria's neighbors, including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. "If people could be there and actually see face to face and firsthand, one couldn't possibly be unmoved to see the suffering they (refugees) are enduring.” The Syrian conflict has dragged on for 26 months, since demonstrations sprang up nationwide on March 15, 2011 protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president and leader the country's Ba'ath Party. In April of that year, the Syrian army began to deploy to put down the uprisings, firing on protesters. Since then, the violence has morphed into a civil war which has claimed the lives of more than 93,000 people. There are 1.5 million Syrian refugees in nearby countries, most of them in Jordan and Lebanon. An additional 4.25 million Syrian people are believed to have been internally displaced by the war. (Source: CNS)




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