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Flames and smoke rise after a mortar shell exploded near to the old Damascus fairground Flames and smoke rise after a mortar shell exploded near to the old Damascus fairground  (ANSA)

Cardinal Zenari urges world not to forget suffering in Syria

The Vatican's representative in Damsacus warns about the deepening humanitarian crisis, as the conflict enters its seventh year

The Vatican’s representative in Damascus, Cardinal Mario Zenari, has appealed to the international community not to forget the suffering people in Syria.

In an interview with the Vatican Newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the nuncio said there was a growing health emergency and food shortages in the country.

He said the continuing violence means that people live in a constant climate of fear, with many family choosing not to leave their homes or send their children to school.

Our Middle East correspondent Nathan Morley takes a look at latest developments in the conflict, which is about to enter its seventh year

Listen to Nathan Morley's report

The government in Damascus said on Tuesday that Israel would face "more surprises" if it attacks Syria's territory.

The comment comes just days after Syrian air defences shot down an Israeli jetfighter – when their guns struck an F-16 as it returned from a raid on Iran-backed positions.

Ayman Sussan, the Syrian assistant Foreign Minister, said: "Have full confidence the aggressor will be greatly surprised because it thought this war - this war of attrition Syria has been exposed to for years - had made it incapable of confronting attacks."

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an immediate de-escalation of violence as civilians continue to suffer.

He warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis as the country is witnessing a particularly brutal phase of the conflict.

Separately, Washington has pledged U$200 million in support of the anti-Islamic State efforts in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the financial boost at the International Coalition against the Islamic State meeting in Kuwait, which began Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, it was confirmed by Military officials in Ankara that thirty-one Turkish soldiers have been killed and 143 others wounded since Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria last month.


13 February 2018, 17:22