GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to the “endless slaughter” and “constructive dialogue” in Syria, Monday 7 January, a day after President Bashir Al-Asaad rejected peace talks with his opponents in a defiant televised speech.
In an annual speech to diplomats representing 179 states as well as representatives from international organizations, the pontiff appealed for an end of the conflict which he said “Will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins”.
On Sunday, President Asaad presented terms for a peace plan which would keep him in power and vowed to continue the fight against his opponents. “What we started will not stop”, he said in his first public speech in six months.
The United Nations estimated last week that the Syrian conflict has left 60,000 dead over the past 21 months.