While world leaders mull over how to respond to the military bombardment of Aleppo in Syria, religious leaders have renewed a call for people to prayer for the war ravaged country. At his General Audience on Wednesday, the Pope Francis once again appealed for peace in Syria.
“Dramatic news continues to reach me concerning the fate of the people of Aleppo, with whom, through prayer and spiritual closeness, I feel united in suffering.”
Since a ceasefire collapsed last week, rebel-held areas of Aleppo have been heavily bombarded, raising international concern over the plight of their 250,000 residents. On Wednesday morning, the Syrian military announced it was launching “concentrated air strikes” in Aleppo and nearby areas, targeting insurgent-held areas in the surrounding countryside.
Locally, the Claremont Main Road Masjid calls on South Africans to keep the people of Syria in their prayers as they continue to suffer a relentless and unjust war of destruction.
“We implore all parties in this vicious civil war to declare a ceasefire and work towards mapping out a sustainable path to stability that protects the lives of all innocent civilians,” said Imam Rashied Omar.
Recent reports have surfaced of airstrikes targeting a humanitarian aid convoy meant to provide relief to people trapped in eastern Alleppo. In the ongoing conflict, aid workers as well as hundreds of civilians have been killed and thousands more injured and maimed, including many children.
“Whether it is by the Syrian regime, Russia, Turkey, Syrian rebels or the USA and it allies, the continued bombardment of civilian areas and attacks on humanitarian aid convoys is inhumane and tantamount to war crimes. We unequivocally condemn the indiscriminate killing of civilians by State and non-state actors with such impunity,” Omar continued.
“The killing of innocent civilians is a war crime no matter who perpetrates it, and the guilty must be brought to justice in the international courts of law. We pray that God, the Infinitely Merciful, alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria, and the oppressed elsewhere in the world.” VOC