» 06/12/2012, 00.00
Nuncio in Damascus: Syria sliding into hell, children used as human shields
Mgr Mario Zenari, nuncio in Syria, describes the human devastation caused by the war. There is the danger that factional hatreds might last decades. Christian, Alawi and Sunni leaders in Homs propose dialogue and reconciliation. UN report blames regime and rebels of torturing children.
(AsiaNews) - "Syria has started its slide into hell. In addition to material
destruction, the conflict is tearing at the heart. The destruction of homes,
the dead and the wounded can be quantified, but the disintegration of the soul
is impossible to measure," Mgr Mario Zenari told AsiaNews. "The danger of latent factional hatred exploding is there
and could last decades. However, I am confident in future peace," the apostolic
nuncio to Damascus said.
violent escalation that has intensified in the past few months is affecting
everyone, including children, the prelate explained. Against their will, they
have become part of the conflict.
media around the world report stories of massacres, torture and violence,
children run the risk of being used by both sides.
a just released report titled Annual
Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, the United
Nations presents the stories of children as young as nine used as human shields
by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
study does not spare the opposition from criticism. The rebel Free Syrian Army is
accused of recruiting hundreds of child soldiers, ranging from nine to 15 years
death of innocent youth and their use a human shields or soldiers is an
unacceptable crime," the bishop said. "The international community and the United
Nations must do all they can to defend these innocent victims, exploited by the
regime and rebels alike. [. . .] Sadly, beside the war on the ground, a media
war is being waged so that we can't believe what anybody is saying."
there are signs that grassroots dialogue and reconciliation are still possible,
Mgr Zenari noted. On 25 May in Homs, one of the main hate-filled battlegrounds,
some Christian leaders organised a reconciliation (Musalaha in Arabic) assembly
for interreligious dialogue that brought in Sunnis and Alawis.
the past few days, the group organised various meetings with civil society groups
and delegates from Damascus.
far, its focus has been on finding missing or abducted people and securing
their release by convincing families and factions to give up arms in favour of
war situation is not helpful," he said, "but we hope to extend this initiative
to other Syrian cities."
Zenari is certain that dialogue can lead to real results. "The international
community, especially Christian countries, must not isolate Syria. Support for the
wall-to-wall clash between regime and rebels is dangerous and
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