Pope Francis condemns Syria chemical weapons attack

"There is no such thing as a good war and a bad war. Nothing, but nothing, can justify the use of such instruments of extermination on defenseless people and populations."

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April 8, 2018 17:10
1 minute read.

Pope condemns alleged chemical attack in Syria, April 8, 2018 (Reuters)

Pope condemns alleged chemical attack in Syria, April 8, 2018 (Reuters)

On Sunday, Pope Francis decried the suspected gas attack in Syria as a use of "instruments of extermination" that is unjustifiable, the official Vatican News site reported.

"There is no such thing as a good war and a bad war. Nothing, but nothing, can justify the use of such instruments of extermination on defenseless people and populations," he said at the end of a Mass in St. Peter's Square. "Let us pray for all the deceased, for the wounded, for the families who suffer.”

The head of the catholic church emphasized that "military and political leaders should choose another path, that of negotiations, which is the only one that can bring about peace and not death and destruction."

A chemical attack on a rebel-held town in eastern Ghouta killed dozens of people, a medical relief organization and a rescue service reported on Sunday in the early morning hours.

Medical relief organization Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said 41 people had been killed, with other reports putting the death toll as high as 150, Reuters reported.

The US State Department responded to the reports by stating that, if confirmed, such an attack "demands an immediate response by the international community."

United States President Donald Trump condemned the chemical attack, claiming Russia and Iran are "responsible" for backing Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The IDF's former intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, in a series of tweets, urged that the US should ground Assad's helicopters which drop chemical weapons once and for all.

The Russian-backed Syrian government denied government forces had launched any chemical attack as the reports began circulating on Saturday night and said rebels in the eastern Ghouta town of Douma were in a state of collapse and spreading false news.

The offensive in Ghouta has been one of the deadliest of the seven-year-long war, killing more than 1,600 civilians according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The pope regularly comments on the Syrian Civil War and other world events. In his official "Urbi et Orbi" Easter message last Sunday, the head of the Catholic church called for a "swift end to the carnage [in which] people are worn down by an apparently endless war," Vatican News reported.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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