Gregory Laham III, Catholic Patriarch of Antioch of the East of Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Melkites issued a plea for Western powers to refrain from armed intervention in Syria. The Catholic leader said, "We must listen to the Pope's appeal for peace in Syria. If western countries want to create true democracy then they must build it on reconciliation, through dialogue between Christians and Muslims, not with weapons. This attacked being planned by the United States is a criminal act, which will only reap more victims, in addition to the tens of thousands of these two years of war. This will destroy the Arab world's trust in the West."
The United States and the United Kingdom are continuing to contemplate military intervention in Syria in response to the deadly gas attack of last week that killed hundreds of civilians in Damascus. While the circumstances of the attack remain unclear, the US has attributed the deadly incident to the government of Syrian President Bashr Al-Assad. Other countries, such as France and Turkey, may also join.
"The voice of Christians - said the Patriarch - is that of the Holy Father. At this time we must be pragmatic. Syria needs stability and an armed attack against the government really has no sense at all". Continuing, the patriarch said "What or who have led Syria to this thin red line, this point of no return? Who created this hell in which our people have been living for months?". "Every day - he explains - Islamic extremists from all over the world are pouring into Syria with the sole intent to kill and not one country has done anything to stop them, even the U.S. has decided to send in more weapons." The prelate stresses that the planned U.S. attack will affect the Syrian population above all and is no less serious than the use of chemical weapons.
According to the Patriarch, Western countries continue to support a non existent opposition, which has no authority on the ground in Syria. "All preparation for the Geneva 2 Conference - he said - has been stopped. The word dialogue is now forgotten. For months the Western countries have wasted time in discussions, while people were dying under Assad's bombs and attacks by Islamic al-Qaeda extremists. " Critics of the Obama administration contend that by intervening against Assad in Syria, the US would be effectively aligning itself with the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.
Gregory III warns that a victory of the Islamists will divided Syria into small enclaves, which will force Christians into a ghetto. "Our community dwindles every day. Young people are fleeing, families leave their homes and villages." For the prelate, "the disappearance of the Christians is a danger not only for Syria, but for all of Europe." "Our presence - he says - is the essential condition for a moderate Islam, which exists thanks to the Christians. If we leave, there can be no democracy in Syria. This is supported also by the Muslims themselves, who fear the Islamist's madness . Many say that they cannot live where there are no Christians".