In conversation with The Southern Cross, Patriarch Younan lamented the “horrendous war” in Syria that is now in its seventh year and he contested the claim, which has been made by Western governments and media, that there is a moderate Muslim faction among the rebel forces.
“It’s a lie,” he said.
Meanwhile, the situation in Iraq remains grim, he said. In that country, since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, “chaos” continues to reign, he said, and more than 140,000 Christians — about a third of whom are Syriac Catholics — have fled the country.
This exodus has been a “real tragedy” and poses a grave threat to the continued existence of the region’s Christian community, which is not seeking any special privileges but simply the ability to live and worship without fear, he said.