The Vicar Apostolic of Aleppo supports the reconciliation effort of  "Mussalaha" in Syria


  Aleppo (Fides Agency) - "I believe that 'Mussalaha' initiative should be encouraged and supported by all. although it is sometimes hard to accept, reconciliation is a way not to be missed and not to be underestimated": with these words, expressed to Fides Agency, H. E. Mgr Giuseppe Nazzaro, OFM, Vicar Apostolic of Aleppo, expresses the institutional support of the Church in Syria to the popular interfaith initiative "Mussalaha" (reconciliation),
which is emerging as a "third way" in the Syrian scenario: in an attempt to help quell the ongoing conflict, focuses on "internal dialogue" between the various political, social and religious components of the Syrian population.

The Bishop told Fides: "In my experience in the field, especially for what my Franciscan brothers did in the past, when they were called to intervene in difficult situations, I think the 'Mussalaha' should be supported. I totally agree with its spirit, because its main purpose is to save human lives. "Today’s man, even in the tragic conflict we see in Syria – remarks Mgr. Nazzaro - must realize that a human life is a gift from God and, as such, must be kept for a respect to God that has given it to man, whether Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist ".
The movement "Mussalaha", which is gaining ground, despite the civil war in various areas of Syria, was born "from below, from the civil society, it is interfaith, transparent and independent (see Fides 6, 9, 11 July, 2012). It intends to dialogue with both the parties in conflict and the interest it pursues is only the salvation of human lives, reconciliation, unity and brotherhood of the Syrian people. The movement includes civil and religious leaders, community Chieves, dignitaries and representatives of the professions. Thanks to the efforts of a committee of "Mussalaha", for the mediation in the conflict in recent days, more than 60 civilians, mostly Christians, have left the bombed city of Homs and were rescued. The evacuation of civilians has been possible thanks to the bilateral agreement between the government forces besieging the city, and the factions of the armed revolutionaries.

 (Source: Fides Agency 16 July, 2012)


Amnesty International: immediate access to the UN to investigate massacres in Syria


Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - Urge UN observers to give full and immediate access everywhere in Syria to conduct independent investigations into human rights abuses and massacres such as occurred recently in the village of Treimseh: Amnesty International said in a statement, sent to 'Fides. According to Syrian opposition sources, 200 civilians were killed last Thursday, July 12, in the village of Treimseh, in the province of Hama, while state-run Syrian media have accused of killing "terrorist groups".
The head of the UN mission, Major General Robert Mood, said that the UN observers are ready to go to Treimseh when there is a ceasefire, and to go check the facts. "Without an independent presence to investigate the facts, it is impossible to verify what really happened," said Ann Harrison, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
In a recent report, Amnesty International reported serious human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Syrian towns and villages near Idlib, Aleppo, Jebel al-Zawiyah and Jebel al-Wastani. According to Amnesty, the UN resolution renewing the supervision of the UN Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) should explicitly include a strong component and expert on human rights, and resources to document and denounce crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious human rights violations committed by all parties to the conflict. The NGO also asks that the situation be referred to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, because it is clear to all parties in conflict, that those who order or commit war crimes and crimes against humanity are brought to justice.

(Source: Fides Agency 14 July, 2012





Syria - The Call of the Franciscans: "Dialogue, no weapons to Syria”


Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - "Syria needs dialogue, not weapons" this is the appeal launched by the Franciscans in Syria, through fr. Romualdo Fernandez OFM, director of the Ecumenical Centre in Tabbaleh (Damascus) and Rector of the Shrine dedicated to the Conversion of St. Paul, in the Syrian capital. In an interview with Fides, fr. Fernandez points out that "the high road to overcome this crisis is the one of the dialogue between the parties. We ask everyone to agree to sit around a table and start a confrontation, which can prevent violence, deaths, killings and massacres, that for too long time has caused bloodshed in our Country. "On the last massacre in the area of Hama, he says that "it is a tragedy, the news are confusing, the truth is the first victim." According to the friar, "if foreign powers continue to arm and finance the parties in conflict, the war continues and the casualties will increase. This is not the way of peace: the road to peace passes through dialogue." As Christians, note fr. Fernandez, "we are open to all our brethren, of every religion" as Franciscans, he repeats, "we are next to the suffering population, to Christians and Muslims, and will never leave this Country. We will stay in Syria, in the service of Gospel. we were there yesterday, we are there today and we'll be there tomorrow, in peacetime and in wartime, in dark times and in bright times. In the certainty that the Lord wants us here and that He will provide for us .”

(Source: Fides Agency 13 July, 2012)




 Syria- Agreement Army – Rebels: civilians evacuated from Homs


Homs (Agency Fides) - More than 60 civilians, mostly Christians, have left the city of Homs bombed in the last 48 hours. As reported by the Syrian-Greek Orthodox priest, Fr Maximos Al-Jamal, the evacuation of civilians has been made possible by the bilateral agreement between government forces besieging the city, and the factions of the revolutionary army. According to some Fides sources, mediation was laboriously conducted by members of the Committee for Reconciliation "Mussalaha". Some displaced people moved to Damascus, others to the so-called "Valley of the Christians", yet others have chosen to go to Lebanon. According to some Fides sources, there are at least 100 Christian civilians caught in trap in the neighborhoods of Bustan al-Diwan and al-Hamidiyah and, in the old city of Homs, and are ongoing negotiations to free them all. Representatives of the "Mussalaha" Committee, are working tirelessly and feverishly, some Fides sources note, with the only basic purpose of "saving human lives".

The "Mussalaha" initiative, which is gaining ground, despite the civil war, in different areas of Syria, is accused by some to be "an expression of the regime" or to be a "propaganda tool". Members Committee rejected the accusations, stressing that the initiative came "from below", from civil society, it is an interreligious, a transparent and an independent one. It intends to speak with the parties, so even with the government, but the interest it pursues, is nothing but the salvation of human lives, the reconciliation, the unity and the fraternity of the Syrian people.

 (Source: Fides July 12, 2012)




“That the West always remember not to do unto others what he would not want to be done to himself," With these words, remembering a saying of the Holy Scriptures, Msgr Giuseppe Nazzaro, OFM, Vicar-Apostolic of Aleppo for Latins, says to the Agency FIDES the current situation in Syria, after the visit of Kofi Annan. According to observers, the UN envoy has left Syria without major advances to stop the ongoing conflict. Neither the government nor the opposition have accepted the proposed cease-fire and dialogue, remarks with regret the Vicar. That the opposition be led and manipulated from the beginning, fears are founded: there are other sea-shores involved in the game, he says with concern. According to information filtered in the last days and reported by the mass-media (such as AKI - Adnkronos International), the conflict would be fueled also by Islamist sectors of Syrian society. The Vicar underlines to Fides: if the West wants to be interested in the Middle East, it must embrace the entire area from ​​the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. It is not possible to consider only data, events or situations, because a certain  Western philosophy wants so. To implement deep social and cultural changes, it takes centuries: it It is not possible to expect immediate results, people cannot reason with a meter of purely Western thought. Fr Nazzaro continues: Why the respect of human rights is it applied selectively only to Syria? Perhaps for political or commercial reasons? In many other countries in the world, even in the Middle East, worst abuses occur in a general silence. In the meanwhile the States perpetrating such abuses vote UN resolutions passed against Syria. Where is the moral?, he concludes.

(Source: Fides 12 March, 2012)