The statement is a stinging rebuke against the illegal strikes by the US, the UK and France on early Saturday morning and was signed by John X, the Greek Orthodox Patriach of Antioch and all the East, Ignatius Aphrem II, Syrian Orthodox Patriach of Antioch and all the East, and Jospeh Absi, Melike-Greek Catholic Patriach of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem.
In their joint statement the heads of three major churches together said that they “condemn and denounce the brutal aggression”. The Syrian army neither owned nor had it used chemical weapons against anyone, the statement added.
They also urged churches in the UK, US and France to “fulfill their Christian duties” and “condemn this aggression and to call their governments to commit to the protection of international peace”.
The three church leaders understand that President Assad’s rule has been providing stability and tolerance for Syria’s Christian minority, and they blasted the airstrikes as “an unjustified assault on a sovereign country”.
Western powers have justified raining bombs on Syria by maintaining that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian government. They will “assess their options” if Damascus “uses chemical weapons again”, Boris Johnson said on Sunday, ignoring the raging debate over the actual legality of the raids and his evidence-free accusations.
“It causes us great pain that this assault comes from powerful countries to which Syria did not cause any harm in any way,” the statement continued.
“This brutal aggression destroys the chances for a peaceful political solution and leads to escalation and more complications. This unjust aggression encourages the terrorist organisations and gives momentum to continue in their terrorism.”
The Church leaders called on the United Nations’ Security Council, where France, the US and Britain have the privilege of permanent seats, to “play its natural role in bringing peace rather than contribute to escalation of wars”.
The Church leaders praised the Syrian Arab Army and added that they would “pray for the souls of the martyrs and the recovery of the wounded”.
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, released a prayer for peace in Syria on Saturday but has refused to condemn the bombing of Syria.
The Methodist Conference in the UK urged the government to abandon the bombing campaign earlier this week and the Anglican Church in Wales backed calls for a diplomatic approach instead of military intervention.