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Pope Francis: Make Syria ‘Priority’ Over ‘Every Other Interest’

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a plea to the international community to halt the violence and mounting death toll in the Syrian civil war, now in its ninth year.

Speaking on Sunday during the recitation of the Angelus, the pope said that he had “great apprehension for the inhumane situation of these defenseless people, among whom so many are children whose lives are at risk.”

Since December, Russian and government forces have launched a series of sustained attacks on opposition towns and cities, bringing a new spike in the violence and accompanying humanitarian crisis.

The pope called on the faithful to “come together to express their solidarity with the Syrian people,” especially “those who live in Idlib, and in Northwest Syria.”

The northwestern city of Idlib has been the focus of sustained attacked from forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad. Fighting in the region has displaced nearly 1 million people from their homes since December last year.

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