Syria: Trump-Putin dialogue to bring peace, Homs archbishop

'Population to decide Assad's future'

17 November, 15:16

    Syria: Trump-Putin dialogue to bring peace, Homs archbishop Syria: Trump-Putin dialogue to bring peace, Homs archbishop

    (ANSAmed) - MADRID - There will be peace in Syria if US president-elect Donald Trump engages in dialogue with Russia about the war in the country, the Melkite Greek-Catholic Archbishop of Homs, Hama and Yabrud told La Vanguardia in an interview.

    Monsignor Jean Abdo Arbach added that ''the future of (Syrian president Bashar) Al-Assad will be decided by his people''. Trump had during his election campaign called for US collaboration with Russia against the Islamic State (ISIS). Arbach went on to describe the disastrous situation Christians are suffering in the Middle East: a century ago they accounted for 12-15% of the population and now only 4-5% of it, he said. Many have fled from wars and persecution. In Iraq, the number has dropped from one million in 2003 to 250,000 now, and atrocities committed by jihadists have led to a major exodus from Syria as well, he said, adding that many have fled to areas controlled by the government in Tartous, Latakia and Damascus. Arbach said that there had been 200,000 Christians in Aleppo prior to the war and that now there are only 30,000. After the liberation of areas occupied by jihadists, he said, some of those that had been in exile have begun to return. On December 8, the Melkite church in Homs will hold a ''reinauguration'' ceremony.

    The archbishop of Syria noted that ''there were 1.5 million Christians in Syria before the war and now there are only 600,000, less than half.''

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