Source: Fox News
November 6, 2017
His Beatitude John X, the Damascus-based leader of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, wrapped up his recent visit to the United States with a desperate appeal for American leadership to bring an end to the suffering in Syria, assist in locating the whereabouts of three kidnapped church leaders, and help secure the future of Christianity in the volatile region.
“We thank the position the United States has taken in fighting terrorism. The United States has a basic and important role to play in resolving these issues that we face. The United States is a superpower and has a way to make decisions that is well-recognized, a way to push everybody to find a peaceful solution (through) dialogue,” he told Fox News. “On the other hand, the U.S. can do something tremendous by helping the people of Syria and supporting their everyday needs.”
In particular, he expressed a desire for the U.S. to “lift the sanctions,” which are “directly affecting the people of Syria” — including the minority Christians endeavoring to survive in the land where their religion began.
The Antiochian Orthodox Church, also known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, counts as many as 1.1 million members in Syria and 400,000 in Lebanon. Additionally, it has about 75,000 members in the U.S., and other members around the world.
Syria has been a designated state sponsor of terrorism since 1979, but additional sanctions have been placed on the country since 2011 as uprisings spawned across the country in the quest to pressure the Assad government to pave the way for political transition. The sanctions prohibit the export of almost all U.S.-origin items, restrict financial services and the import of Syrian oil, and ban new investments in Syria by Americans.
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