Syrian Opposition Meet in Rome, Appeal for Cease-fire

Representatives of a dozen Syrian opposition groups called for a cease-fire in their homeland and the beginning of an internationally mediated dialogue to bring democracy to the country. Meeting in Rome July 25-26, the groups, which included some inspired by Islam, said they are "firmly opposed to any discrimination based on religious confession or ethnicity." The 14 men and three women involved in Syria's pro-democracy movements met under the auspices of the Community of Sant'Egidio, a Rome-based Catholic lay group that promotes dialogue and charity. "While violence is prevailing and on a rampage in our country," the political opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad felt "it was important to sit together and think about a political solution," said Faiez Sara, a writer and member of the Democratic Forum, who had been imprisoned for his political activities in Syria. He said it was time to stop "the killings perpetrated by the regime or committed by the victims of the regime who have taken up weapons." The opposition leaders signed their "Rome Appeal," calling for a negotiated end to Assad's rule and the beginning of a transition to "a Syria that is democratic, civil and safe for all, without fear and without oppression." In addition to insisting on the retreat of government forces, they asked "our fellow citizens in [opposition] the Free Syrian Army and all those bearing arms, to participate in a political process to establish a peaceful, secure and democratic Syria." Also on July 26, the Catholic bishops of Syria held an abbreviated summer meeting in Aleppo, which had been the scene of fierce fighting. "In Aleppo, the situation is very tense, but right now there are not problems for the Christians. There are fears that the situation could worsen and that the militants could penetrate the Christian quarters, but that has not happened," Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo said. "If the West wants to help the Syrian people," he said, "support and pressure for dialogue.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The appointments are part of an ongoing effort to give a greater role to women in the work of the Roman Curia offices, the central administration of the Catholic church.
Gerard O’ConnellApril 21, 2018
Ivette Escobar, a student at Central American University in San Salvador, helps finish a rug in honor of the victims in the 1989 murder of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the UCA campus, part of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Jesuit martyrs in 2014. (CNS photo/Edgardo Ayala) 
A human rights attorney in the United States believes that the upcoming canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero in October has been a factor in a decision to revisit the 1989 Jesuit massacre at the University of Central America.
Kevin ClarkeApril 20, 2018
Journalists photograph the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in California in 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
In California, Catholic opponents of the death penalty are trying to protect the largest population of inmates awaiting execution in the Western Hemisphere.
Jim McDermottApril 20, 2018
Photo: the Hank Center at Loyola University Chicago
Bishop McElroy said that Catholics must embrace “the virtues of solidarity, compassion, integrity, hope and peace-building.”