CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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Pope denounces deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Francis condemned the use of chemical weapons after the deadly April 7 attack by Syrian army warplanes that killed dozens of innocent men, women and children in Douma, Syria.
 
“There is no good and bad war, and nothing, nothing can justify the use of such instruments of extermination against defenseless people and populations,” the pope said before concluding Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square on April 8.
 
The Syrian American Medical Society Foundation reported that 42 people were killed in the attack while hundreds of people, “the majority of whom are women and children, were brought to local medical centres with symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent.”
 
Pope Francis prayed “for all the dead, for the wounded, for the families who suffer” and called for world leaders to abandon the use of war as a means of gaining peace and stability.
 
“We pray that political and military leaders choose the other way: that of negotiation, the only one that can lead to a peace that is not that of death and destruction,” the pope said.
 
Despite eyewitness accounts, the Syrian government has denied involvement in the attack. The State Department of the United States (US) denounced “the regime’s history of using chemical weapons against its own people” and said that Russia, which supports Syrian president, Bashir al-Assad, “ultimately bears responsibility for the brutal targeting of countless Syrians with chemical weapons.”
 
On April 9, US president, Donald Trump, warned of a big price, attacking al-Assad, Iran and, for the first time publicly, Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
 
Trump tweeted: “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price...”

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