ASIA/SYRIA-Instability and violence, appeal of the Apostolic Nuncio: "Enough with atrocities"

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - Instability, insecurity, violence, massacres: the scenario in Syria today is bleak. According to the "Syrian National Council", which leads the opposition in Houla, in the province of Homs, 88 people, including civilians and children, were killed by the bombing of the regular army. Fides sources report a different version: the regular army hit Houla, where many Salafist militants and terrorists have found refuge, using civilians as human shields. The Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, His Exc. Mgr. Mario Zenari, interviewed by Fides, launches an appeal: "This massacre is not the only one, let’s hope it is the last. We demand an end to such atrocities. All believers, Christians and Muslims today are called to discover the weapons of prayer and fasting, to rekindle the hope of a peaceful future in Syria." According to Fides sources in the Christian community, even armed gangs out of control continue to rage and hit innocent civilians. Terrorists have blown up an Alawite’s house in the district of southern Rableh near Qusayr, always in the area of Homs. The explosion caused the death of Youssef Airouti, injuring his wife and his son, but also Hallaq Shibli and his wife Niamat Saadiyet, a Christian couple from Qusayr, who found refuge in Rableh. Meanwhile in Homs the Armenian Apostolic Church and adjoining school in the district of Hamidia were seized and occupied by the Syrian military's Liberation Army, who use the buildings as housing and hospitals. Fr. Romualdo Fernandez, a Franciscan friar of the Shrine of Tabbaleh, dedicated to St. Paul in Damascus, says to Fides Agency: "People are confused and disoriented. Reports of massacres follow but the responsible are not certain. There is pessimism because no one knows what the future holds. There are criticisms to the regime, but also to the rebels of the opposition. As Christians we share the sufferings of the people, tried by the conflict. We work for peace and justice, without adhering to any political faction." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 26/5/2012)