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Catholic Leader Makes Surprising Case For Religious Pluralism In War-Torn Syria

There is no end in sight for the four-year civil war between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and various rebel groups. Those rebels include the Islamic State, whose fighters are enclosing on Aleppo, the largest city in Syria.

Jean-Clément Jeanbart is the Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo. In a recent visit to the United States, he told The Daily Caller News Foundation why the U.S. government’s “red lines” policy toward Assad’s use of chemical weapons is not enough. And he acknowledged that peace will only come to Syria once trust between its citizens, which has been repeatedly shattered, is restored.

WATCH:

More highlights from our interview:

TheDCNF: President Obama said President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons is an uncrossable line. How do you see that?

Archbishop Jeanbart: I’ll say that the life of hundreds of thousands of human beings can’t be considered speaking about red lines or something else. But there shouldn’t be something which destroys the country and destroys these innocent people.

TheDCNF: Do you think that democracy and freedom and survival for the Christians is possible without Assad?

Jeanbart: As I told you, the problem is not [either] Assad or not-Assad. The problem is that the United States, Europe and the countries in the region may understand and accept that we may resolve the problem ourselves, Syrians. That we may sit together and find a way to live together with respect for everybody. This camp is scared and afraid to be annihilated by the other, and the same in the other camp.

So why not to come and to discuss together: what gives you security? What makes you happy? And let us try to give each other what he needs to feel secure. That’s very important: that everybody in Syria may feel that now on he’ll be tranquil and not be threatened by others.

Previous installments in this series are available here, here and here.

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