"The important thing is that this military operation is conducted along with attempts to stimulate the peace process. We sincerely hope that the peace process will prevail over the fighting all across Syria," the clergyman said.
Abou Khazen stressed that the ongoing conflict threatens not just the local Christians, but Syrian society as a whole, especially the minorities.
"As you know, there are many minorities in Syria. The society here is comprised of 23 religious and ethnic groups, and before the war we all lived in peace and harmony. To me, our pre-war society was like a beautiful mosaic which is now being destroyed by the war," Abou Khazen lamented.
He also added that most Syrians consider the Russian military operation to be the country’s best hope for deliverance from the quagmire it’s been stuck in for the last five years.
"Syrians react positively towards this operation. Like I said before, Russia's activity isn't just limited to military action alone. Russia does a good thing by stimulating the negotiations and inter-Syrian dialogue, and we hope that this process succeeds," Abou Khazen said.
At the same time, the prospects for a peaceful resolution remain threatened as militants opposing the Syrian government regularly shell the civilian districts of the city with mortars, the priest ruefully remarked.
"They cut our electricity five months ago. We have no water either. Nobody talks about it in the West,” he said, according to Le Figaro. "We have wells in churches and mosques, plus those drilled by the government forces, but it is a disaster."
Meanwhile, the hopes for the cessation of hostilities continue to diminish as on early Thursday Turkey allowed 500 "jihadists" to enter Syria via its border, the newspaper adds. According to Le Figaro, the militants were heading to the "rebel stronghold" of Azaz.