Syrian Patriarchs urge the lifting of sanctions

Three Christian Patriarchs in Syria have urged the international community to lift sanctions imposed on the country in order to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

In a message co-signed by Patriarchs John X of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch,  Gregory III Laham of the Greek-Melkite community and Syrian Orthodox Mar Ignatius Aphrem II, the leaders point out that the impact of economic and financial sanctions placed on the country as it descended into conflict in 2011have “deepened the suffering of the Syrian people”.

“The absence of new investments and the ban on international flights to Syria, as well as the reduction of exportation to the country and listing some Syrian companies on the blacklist of international trade, are considered to be economic measures towards the isolation of Syria from the international community,” the prelates state. However, the result, they say, has been to negatively impact those ordinary Syrians already struggling through the worst of the conflict.

“Despite the resolution of the Syrian people in the face of the crisis, the social situation is getting worse and the poverty and suffering of the Syrian people are constantly increasing.

“We, the three Patriarchs residing in Damascus where we closely feel the suffering of the people of Syria, raise our voices in this humanitarian appeal demanding the lifting of the economic sanctions on the basis of the ‘Human Rights Charter’ and other International Covenants’.”