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    » 09/17/2013, 00.00

    VATICAN - SYRIA

    Nuncio in Damascus : The victims of chemical warfare and Pope's prayer hasten radical change in Syria



    For Msgr . Mario Zenari , the " innocent victims " and " Pope's prayer " have led to two miracles : armed intervention has been avoided and the decision to destroy Damascus’ chemical weapons. The need to work for a political solution to the conflict. The UN report confirms the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta but says nothing about the responsibility of the attack. United States, Britain and France accuse Assad , Russia states that one can not exclude the responsibility of the rebels.

    Damascus ( AsiaNews) - " The victims of the chemical weapons " and "Pope Francis' prayer" have hastened "a turning point" for  "a radical change " in the tragedy of Syria. So says Msgr . Mario Zenari , apostolic nuncio in Damascus, commenting on the publication of a UN report which confirms the use of chemical weapons in the war that has bloodied the Syrian soil for over two years.

    The experts' report comes about 4 weeks after the attack on Ghouta , on the outskirts of Damascus.  It was demanded by the International Community who accuse Bashar Assad of using chemical weapons against his own people, causing hundreds, if not thousands of deaths, and among them many children.

    Yesterday evening, the UN secretary general Ban Ki -moon presented the report drafted by experts and inspectors, concluding that "chemical weapons have been used on a large scale in the area of ​​Ghouta , near Damascus [ August 21 ] . The attack caused many casualties , particularly among civilians". Ban said that 85% of the blood samples tested positive for sarin . "This - concluded Ban - is the most significant use of chemical weapons against civilians since the days of Saddam Hussein, who used them in 1988 at Halabia ."

    The report does not say who is responsible for the attack, because that was not its mandate . The United States, Britain and France immediately declared that the "technical details "mentioned in the report and the scale of the attack  lead "without a doubt" to the conclusion that the chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime .

    Russia , an ally of Syria, through its UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, rejected this conclusion , stating that " the allegations that the opposition also use chemical weapons can not be so easily put aside" . Churkin also notes that there were no rebels among those who died from the use of chemical weapons. The Syrian regime claims its innocence and accuses the armed opposition .

    Faced with this ongoing blame game, Msgr. Zenari points out: "The tragedy that occurred on August 21 marks a turning point . It is an alarm bell that indicates the abyss that we are slipping into.  A complete change attitude is needed. If those innocent victims, those gassed children, help motivate this change, then their death was not in vain . These innocent victims have to force us to change. "

    The nuncio appreciates that the tragedy of Ghouta forced the US-Russia agreement for the delivery and destruction of chemical weapons possessed by Damascus. He attributes this to the "innocent victims " and " the Pope's prayer vigil on 7 September" to the avoidance of an imminent threat of armed intervention against Syria - that would have led to a regional and perhaps the world war.

    "We received more than we asked for - he says - Two miracles occurred: the first is that armed military intervention has been avoided for now; the second miracle is the choice to destroy the chemical weapons , which were a dangerous threat . The Lord has given us much more than we needed. "

    "All this - he adds - is of immense relief to us, but now is not the time to rest on our laurels, we must continue to pray to hasten a political solution to the conflict."

     

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    See also

    19/09/2013 SYRIA -UN
    Assad reiterates his innocence. A year and a billion dollars to destroy chemical weapons
    Syria has handed over more "evidence" on the use of gas by the rebels to Russia. Russian diplomacy judges the UN report "biased". According to the UN, the trajectories of missiles with lethal weapons come from an area under army control, but the target area is in the hands of the rebels and was manipulated.

    26/09/2013 SYRIA-UN
    UN experts on chemical weapons arrive in Damascus
    The group is led by Ake Sellstrom, who already investigated the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta. There have been at least 14 cases of use of these deadly weapons. Both sides of conflict, the army and rebels accused. UN Security Council works for a resolution on Damascus’ hand over of chemical weapons.

    18/10/2013 SYRIA
    Damascus announces November conference to stop the war
    The news given by the Deputy Prime Minister , Qadri Jamil . But the Syrian National Council , the main opposition group has already stated that it will not go to Geneva. One of the military intelligence leaders killed.

    09/09/2013 SYRIA -USA- VATICAN
    Bashar Assad : I did not use chemical weapons. U.S. intelligence proves him right
    In an interview with CBS the Syrian President denounces lack of evidence. U.S. intelligence sources speak of "manipulated evidence". Pope Francis’ condemnation of chemical weapons and the Holy See's commitment to a peace conference . Among the priorities: to ensure Syrian national unity, equal citizenship for Christians and Muslims, denouncing of rebels tied to Al - Qaeda.

    20/09/2012 SYRIA - UN
    Ban Ki-moon: No military solution to Syrian conflict. Political dialogue only answer
    The Secretary-General is concerned about the escalation of violence by the government and the rebels, which can only lead to a dead end. USA Report: 117 Iranian jets landed in Damascus carrying weapons and not "humanitarian goods". The rebels armed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Western powers. Benedict XVI's warning not to import arms.



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