Excerpted From National Catholic Register: Two prominent Catholic leaders in Syria criticized the U.S. missile strikes against their nation, wondering why they occurred before investigations into the origins of chemical attacks reported April 4.
But U.S. President Donald Trump said Syrian President Bashar Assad “launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians” and “choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children.”
“No child of God should ever suffer such horror,” he said April 6, announcing that he had ordered the strike against the air base from which he said the chemical weapons attack was launched.
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph Younan called the attack an aggression and told Catholic News Service: “It is a shame that the United States administration didn’t wait until an honest United Nations investigation was thoroughly made into what is said to be a chemical air strike in Khan Shaykun.”
“The agglomerate media and the supremacist policy of the USA just want the killing and destroying conflict in Syria to continue, and this primarily to kill whatever attempt to resolve the bloody crisis,” added Younan, who was born in Syria and served for 14 years as bishop of the New Jersey-based Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance for Syriac Catholics in the United States and Canada.
Bishop Georges Khazen, who serves Latin-rite Catholics in Aleppo, told the Rome-based Fides news agency that he was baffled by “the speed with which it was decided and carried out, without any adequate investigation into the tragic massacre with chemical weapons which took place in Idlib province.”
He said the attack “opens new disturbing scenarios for all.”
The U.S. launched 59 missiles from the USS Ross and USS Porter in the Mediterranean early April 7 local time. U.S. officials said they targeted Shayrat Air Base’s airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas.
In his statement, Trump said, “There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.”
The president said it was vital to U.S. security interests “to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” and he called on other nations “to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.”
“Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically,” Trump said. “As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.”
“We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed, and we hope that as long as America stands for justice, that peace and harmony will in the end prevail,” he said. Keep reading
Excerpted From Breitbart: Catholic News Service reported on Friday that two Catholic leaders in Syria are criticizing the U.S. attack on the Bashar al-Assad regime that took place on Thursday, claiming it will only assure the continuation of the bloody civil war in the country, with Christians perhaps suffering the most.
“It is a shame that the United States administration didn’t wait until an honest United Nations investigation was thoroughly made into what is said to be a chemical air strike in Khan Shaykun,” Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph Younan told CNS.
“The agglomerate media and the supremacist policy of the USA just want the killing and destroying conflict in Syria to continue, and this primarily to kill whatever attempt to resolve the bloody crisis,” the Syrian-born Younan told CNS. Younan also served for fourteen years as bishop of the New Jersey-based Diocese of Our Lady of Deliverance for Syriac Catholics in the United States and Canada.
Bishop Georges Khazen, who serves Latin-rite Catholics in Aleppo, agreed that there should have been an investigation as to who perpetrated the chemical weapon attack before any military response, telling the Rome-based Fides news agency that the U.S. action “opens new disturbing scenarios for all.”
The Pentagon confirmed the launch of 59 Tomahawk land attack missiles on Thursday night as a retaliatory move following what appeared to be a chemical attack on civilians in Idlib province.
“The strikes were intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again,” Pentagon Spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said.
Davis said the strikes hit aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage areas, ammunition supply bunkers, and air defense systems and radars.
In a speech explaining his actions, Trump said, in part:
Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where a chemical attack was launched. It is in the vital, national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.
We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed, and we hope that as long as America stands for justice, that peace and harmony will in the end prevail.
The criticism by Christians of the U.S. attack against the Assad regime reflects the complicated lives of believers in Syria and the contrast of their lives before and since the civil war.
In December 2016, the Economist wrote about Christians caught in the civil war in Syria, now entering its seventh year, in an article entitled, “Aleppo presents a moral dilemma for Christian leaders”:
The leaders of Syria’s local churches have generally looked to President Bashar al-Assad as their protector; and their feeling that only Mr Assad guarantees their lives has deepened as the conflict has polarized, with fundamentalist Sunni fighters, murderously hostile to all other faiths, on one side and government forces backed by Shia militias and Russian air power on the other. In this state of affairs, only the latter coalition seems to offer Christian churches any chance of prolonging their precarious existence. Many would say Mr Assad is to blame for bringing about that polarization; but to a bishop on Syria’s front-line, survival probably matters more than political analysis.
To defend Mr. Assad seems morally outrageous, but calls for his removal risk sounding like a death-knell for fellow Christians.
The Economist cited Father Jacques Mourad who survived five months of captivity at the hands of Islamic terrorists. He said that, while “Sunni extremism” is a threat to Christians, they are not the only threat.
“The U.S. has been bombing Syria and Iraq for years, and now the Russians are doing so, too,” Mourad said. “And what have they achieved? Have they stopped the terrorist violence?
“Absolutely not,” Mourad said. Keep reading