Pope Francis Expresses Condolences to Assad Over Bloodshed in Syria

© REUTERS / Andrew KellyPope Francis addresses attendees in the opening ceremony to commence a plenary meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York September 25, 2015.
Pope Francis addresses attendees in the opening ceremony to commence a plenary meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan, New York September 25, 2015. - Sputnik International
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Pope Francis has sent a letter to Syrian President Bashar Assad, expressing his profound sympathy to Syria and its people, and calling for uniting all efforts to stop the bloodshed and restore peace.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to Sana news agency, Pope Francis stressed in the letter that Syria was going through difficult times and asserted the Vatican’s condemnation of all forms of terrorism and extremism.

He also called on strengthening efforts on fighting against terrorism in Syria so that it could remain a model for coexistence among cultures and religions as it has always been.

People walk near a Syrian national flag at the President bridge in Damascus, Syria March 14, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The letter was handed to Assad by Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari.

Pope Francis has repeatedly called for an end of the conflict in Syria, condemning terrorist attacks.

Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with government forces fighting the Syrian opposition groups striving to overthrow Assad. Damascus is also fighting numerous extremist and terrorist groups such as the Jabhat Fatah al Sham (previously known as al-Nusra Front) and Daesh, both outlawed in the United States and Russia. According to the United Nations, 300,000 Syrians died since the beginning of the conflict.

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