Cardinal Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Syria since 2008, said that, after nearly 10 years of war, the Syrian people had now been hit with a “poverty bomb” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Cardinal Zenari explained that “many Syrians have lost hope,” while lamenting that Syria seemed to have disappeared off the “media radar”.
A statement from the Holy See press office yesterday said the cardinal met with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall to “rekindle attention toward the situation in Syria”.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin also expressed his hope at the meeting that the world would not grow accustomed to the “litany of horrors that every day comes to us from that tormented nation”, according to the press office.
Syria, which has an estimated population of 17.5 million, is facing an unprecedented hunger crisis, according to the United Nations World Food Programme. It estimates that 9.3 million Syrians are food insecure – an increase of 1.4 million people from the beginning of 2020 – as economic instability has increased the cost of food.
The United States and European Union have imposed sanctions on the Syrian Government.
Cardinal Zenari told diplomats that the sanctions imposed on Syria “inexorably affect the population”, highlighting the problem of missing and detained persons in Syria.