Syria’s crisis is a world war, warns archbishop

Syria’s crisis is not a civil crisis, but is “a world war on Syrian territory”, according to Archbishop Jean-Abdo Arbach, the Melkite Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Homs, Hama and Yabrud.

Interviewed at a conference on the Christian East and the Arab World, Archbishop Arbach said “the whole of the Middle East is in flames” and that “it’s necessary that the International Community, together with the present governments, find a fitting solution for the people, for the families, the children.”

Claiming that “the Syrian people can no longer go on”, the archbishop called on the global community to cooperate to stop such attacks as the renewed attacks on Aleppo, appealing in particular for mercy for Syria’s children, millions of whom, he said, are hungry and sick, and in need of education. 

While the conflict persists, he said, the Church continues to work on the ground in all manner of ways, although her aid efforts are hampered by how “ the country suffers a blockade by Europe and the United States”, such that “we have many difficulties for materials to enter in Syria”. 

Arguing that there is a real problem with how Europe thinks of Christians, he said, “the problem posed is if the West wants the Christians to stay in their countries of origin”. Pointing out that Christians are safe and coexist peacefully with Muslims in areas “where the authority of the Government continues”, he said that Christians fear ISIS and other militants, and noted how barely 200,000 Christians remain of the 1.2 million Christians in Iraq before the 2003 invasion.

Nonetheless, he said “We have very great hope and very great faith. Hope and faith have never been lacking.”