11:20 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives for his weekly general audience at St Peter's square in Vatican

    Pope Sends First Vatican Delegation to Aleppo Since Cessation of Hostilities

    © AFP 2019 / ANDREAS SOLARO
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    Pope Francis has sent an official delegate from the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development to Syria’s Aleppo for the first time after a cessation of hostilities in war-ravaged country, according to a statement released by the Dicastery Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the statement, the Pope’s delegate, Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, visited Aleppo from January 18 to January 23 and was accompanied by Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari.

    During the visit, the delegates of the Holy See met with representatives of different Christian communities in Syria and visited Catholic charity organizations, hospitals and refugee camps, the statement said.

    The Vatican delegation also took part in an ecumenical prayer service organized on occasion of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity, according to the statement.

    During the visit, the delegates stressed a growing need for the provision of humanitarian assistance to all the population of Syria.

    A nationwide ceasefire between Syrian government troops and several opposition factions came into being at midnight local time on December 30 (22:00 GMT on December 29). Russia, Turkey and Iran serve as guarantors of the deal which paves the way for negotiations between the warring parties.

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    ceasefire, Pope Francis, Vatican, Syria, Aleppo
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