Pope Francis: Dialogue is the only solution to the humanitarian crisis in Idlib

VATICAN CITY — Due to the war in Syria in general, and in Idlib Governorate in particular, and after the Syrian-Turkish threats and shelling in Idlib, a humanitarian catastrophe is taking place for civilians who fled to Turkey and the regions of North and East Syria. Pope Francis invited all parties to dialogue instead of violence.

On Sunday, Pope Francis called for the respect of international humanitarian law in Idlib during a speech he delivered to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square. “The reports from Idlib are painful, especially regarding the conditions of women and children and those forced to flee because of the military escalation,” said The Pope. “I renew my sincere appeal to the international community and all parties concerned, using diplomatic means, dialogue and negotiations, and in relation to international humanitarian law, to protect the lives and destiny of civilians.”

The Pope then led the crowd in a special prayer for Syria.

Turkey and Russia have been bolstering support for the opposing sides in the nine-year-long Syria civil war. However, they have signed a series of agreements since 2017 seeking to establish some semblance order on the chaotic situation. What little was achieved by the Turkish-Russian agreements is steadily unraveling.

Already struggling to handle the Syrians seeking refuge within its borders, Erdogan has threatened to confront the Russian-backed Syrian forces unless they withdraw from the region.