MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Vatican does not rule out the use of force in countering the Islamic State's assault, its representative to the UN in Geneva told the online Catholic magazine Crux in an interview.
"What's needed is a coordinated and well-thought-out coalition to do everything possible to achieve a political settlement without violence. But if that's not possible, then the use of force will be necessary," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi was quoted as saying Friday.
Tomasi's support for a military approach against ISIL followed a joint declaration with Russia and Lebanon at the UN Human Rights Council 28th session in support of Christians and other oppressed minorities in the Middle East.
Predominantly Assyrian Christian towns and villages in northeastern Syria have come under Islamic State's attacks over the past several weeks. Thousands have been displaced and hundreds taken hostage, including priests, women and children.
Last month, ISIL-affiliated militants posted a video depicting the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in the region need "more coordinated protection, including the use of force to stop the hands of an aggressor," Tomasi said.
Currently, a 62-nation coalition led by the United States is carrying out almost daily airstrikes against the militants that seized parts of Syria and Iraq aiming to establish an Islamic caliphate in territories under their control.
Known for its brutal tactics, the Islamic State jihadist group has regularly targeted ethnic and religious minorities and has gained notoriety for abductions, killings and defiling buildings carrying historic and religious significance.