Pope Francis hopes to embark on the first-ever papal visit to the biblical land of Iraq in early March in a spiritual pilgrimage.
At least 50 people were killed and 2,700 injured. Catholic and other humanitarian agencies warn it could push the country into an even bigger catastrophe.
"Yemen is desperate for peace," Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said of the world's worst humanitarian crisis in which 24 million people have no choice but to depend on international aid.
The independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission said it aims to defend the universal right to freedom of religion abroad and makes policy recommendations to the U.S. administration.
Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Christians numbered around 1.5 million, but sectarian attacks on churches in Baghdad and other areas soon followed, and the population either headed north or left the country altogether.
People are concerned that Syria will be further undermined not only by terrorism, humanitarian stresses, and lack of freedom but by the coronavirus pandemic as well.
Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. human rights chief, called on Syria and its allies to permit safe humanitarian corridors to be set up in the conflict areas.
People in northeastern Syria say despite Erdogan's reassurances, the Turkish military and its allied Syrian armed groups are persecuting religious minorities.