ROME - Pope Benedict urged the Syrian government on Sunday to recognize the legitimate aspirations of its people and embark on a national dialogue to put an end to a violent crackdown on protesters which has killed thousands since March.
Speaking to pilgrims after his weekly Angelus blessing, the pope said Syrian authorities also had to answer to the concerns of the international community over the fighting and unrest.
"It's urgent to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the different sections of the nation, as well as the auspices of the international community," the pope said.
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