Pope Francis Says He Is ‘Deeply Troubled’ by Situation in Syria

Pope Francis delivers his speech to diplomats accredited to the Holy See, during an audience for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings, in the "Regia" hall at the Vatican, on January 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Andrew Medichini (Photo credit should read ANDREW MEDICHINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis expressed his distress over the situation in Syria Sunday, calling on world leaders to assure that “justice and peace prevail.”

The pope chose not to criticize the recent military actions of the United States, Great Britain, and France in his remarks, confining his comments to more general expressions of concern for the people involved and frustration that peace cannot be achieved without the use of military force.

“I am deeply troubled by the current world situation,” Francis told the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the weekly prayer of the Regina Caeli at noon on Sunday, “in which, despite the means available to the international community, it is difficult to agree on joint action in favor of peace in Syria and in other regions of the world.”

“While I pray incessantly for peace, and I call upon all people of good will to continue to do the same,” the pontiff concluded, “I appeal again to all policymakers to make justice and peace prevail.”

Later in the day, the pope sent out a tweet reiterating the same message.

“While I continue to pray unceasingly for peace, and invite all people of good will to do the same, I renew my appeal to all those with political responsibilities to ensure that justice and peace prevail,” he said.

Early Saturday morning, the United States led a joint military operation in Syria with the U.K. and France in response to the chemical gas attack on the Syrian town of Douma last week, in which 42 people reportedly died and many others were left gasping for breath and foaming at the mouth.

Satellite images show extensive damage to three chemical weapons facilities including a research site at Barzah and two weapons storage facilities in Homs.

According to reports from the U.S. government, the Barzah facility doubled as a center for the development and testing of both chemical and biological weapons.

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