(AsiaNews) - "The situation is increasingly tense in Damascus. People are
afraid to go out during the day in some neighbourhoods. Dark days are
coming," Mgr Mario Zenari, Vatican nuncio in Damascus, told AsiaNews.
the first time since the uprising began, the capital has been the scene of fighting
between rebels and the Syrian military. Since 15 July, a unit from the rebel Syrian
Free Army (Al-Jayš As-Suri Al-Ħurr) and the dreaded Syrian Republican Guard
under Maher el-Assad, the president's brother, have been engaged in combat.
harshest exchanges were in the historic al-Midan neighbourhood with the
government using tanks, helicopters, snipers and heavy artillery.
activists reported the death of 64 people, including a number of civilians.
fighting is affecting the entire population, Mgr Zenari said. But so far, no anti-Christian
violence has been reported.
some areas of Damascus, as well as in many villages, the presence of Maronites,
Catholics and Orthodox has helped reconciliation between Alawis and Sunni
Muslims," the prelate said.
the dangers, many religious have chosen bear witness by staying with residents
and sharing with them the pain and sorrow of the war."
example, five Cistercian (Trappist) nuns from Italy live in Azeir (Homs), a
small village near the border with Lebanon. Their "presence is a sign of
hope for the residents of nearby villages who view their monastery as a place
of peace that helps face the horrors of war," Mgr Zenari said.
In the meantime, a tug-of-war continues at the
Security Council where China and Russia opposed their third no to a unanimous
condemnation of the Syrian president.
yesterday also blocked a UN motion on the recent massacre in Tremseh in which
some 200 people died, arguing that information about the incident were not
impartial since it came from the opposition.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Western nations of blackmail to force
Russia to accept new sanctions against the Syrian regime.
number of countries from the 'Friends of Syria' group, which includes members
of the Security Council and the Arab League, are pushing for a UN resolution
Some nations, like France, are vetting the possible
use of force, as in Iraq (2003) and Libya (2011).
After defecting a few days ago, Syria's former
ambassador to Iraq Nawaf Fares said today that President Bashar al-Assad will
not hesitate in using chemical weapons to avoid losing power. (S.C.)