Pope prays for peace in Syria

Pope Benedict XVI is calling upon all sides in the Syrian conflict to find a peaceful solution.

In his general audience on Wednesday, the Pope said he was following the "tragic" situation and "terrible suffering" of the Syrian people with particular concern.

The Vatican was forced to cancel plans to send a delegation to Damascus after the city was rocked by deadly bomb attacks in recent weeks.

The President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Cardinal Robert Sarah, has instead been sent on a special mission to Lebanon where he is meeting Syrian pastors and refugees, the Fides news agency reports.

Cardinal Sarah is in Lebanon until 10 November and will also meet with the representatives of Catholic charities who have been specifically asked by the Pope to assist the Syrian people.

The Pope issued an appeal to Syria "to do everything possible because one day might be too late".

He said: "As I raise my prayer to God, I renew the invitation to the parties in conflict and those who have at heart the welfare of Syria to spare no effort in the search for peace and to pursue, through dialogue, the roads that lead to a fair living together, for the proper political solution to the conflict. We must do everything we can because one day may be too late."

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