(Vatican Radio) An international peace force is needed to hold back the onslaught of so-called Islamic State militants who continue to make gains in Syria and Iraq – that, according to Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, Syria, Antoine Audo.
In an interview with Vatican Radio’s Italian Service, Bishop Audo says, “We are a bit confused; no one knows exactly what is happening. As Christians, as Syrians, we hope to have a solution of reconciliation, of peace, with the help of the United Nations. An international peace force is needed. The situation in Aleppo is rather difficult, with problems of electricity, water; there is no security. No one knows when the bombs will drop. And, despite everything, as Christians, we try to be lively, active, to go about business. For example, this week we will have several days of reflections with all the people who work with us at Caritas. We try to survive, to be active… we cannot do other things.”
Asked if people are concerned about the possible arrival of Islamic State militants, Bishop Audo says, “In the city, in the center of Aleppo where most Christians live along with others, there is no direct violent presence. We are under the protection of the government. Around the city there are many groups which attack and launch bombs. This is the situation.”
The Chaldean bishop says people have heard the horrific accounts of what happens to areas under the control of IS’s so-called caliphate. “We’ve heard the news coming from Mosul and Raqqa. We hear the news that speak of (strict forms of Sharia) laws, of the way one has to behave, of the violence. Yes, yes, and this generally makes the people afraid...We hope though, that (these things aren’t) true. The question is, who supports these groups? This is the question that we put to the international community’s conscience. Who is selling the arms? Who stands to gain from this violence?”