Syrian patriarch claims West is fueling tragedies

The West is an accomplice to the genocide of Christians in Syria, a prominent Church leader from the country has said.

Syrian Catholic Patriarch Mar Ignace Youssif III Younan has said in an interview that “the West is fueling the catastrophic tragedies we see unfolding before our eyes”, adding “we have said many times that inciting violence in Syria would only lead to chaos; and chaos leads to civil war, or vice versa. Yet chaos is also the greatest enemy of minorities, especially the Christian minority both in Syria and in Iraq.”

Criticising western politicians for inciting violence in Syria, he urged their citizens to “raise their voices”, telling their governments: “You are participating in a genocide of minorities, especially the Christian minority.”

Russian premier Vladimir Putin’s actions in the country should be acknowledged, he added, arguing that “what Russia did only in the month of September is worth much more that everything the West has done in the last two years”.

He accused Western powers of “rampant opportunism” in their dealings with Iraq, asking why ISIS has yet to be stopped, criticising how “they have been talking for years about stopping or eliminating this caliphate of terror” and adding “defenceless Christians are caught between the Daesh (ISIS) and Western opportunism”.

While Pope Francis’ recent decision to bring 12 Syrian refugees back to Rome was a sincere gesture, he said, he believed it was not enough.  Given an opportunity, he said, he would tell the Pope, “Holy Father, it’s not taking 12 Syrians among those who suffer and are drowning that resolves the problem. We would instead prefer that Your Holiness make a real decision.”

He called on the Pope “to say clearly that the policies adopted by Western politicians are absolutely unjust and go against charity and justice”.