Nunciature in Damascus Comes Under Attack

No injuries reported

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A single mortar was fired at the apostolic nunciature in Damascus during the morning of Nov. 5. There were no reports of casualties or injuries.

According to Asia News, the rocket was fired at the third floor of the nunciature where the Nuncio, Archbishop Mario Zenari, his secretary Fr. Giorgio, and the sisters working at the residence have their sleeping quarters.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is believed the nunciature was targeted as it was a single salvo.

Archbishop Zenari is one of the few diplomats who has remained in Damascus throughout the past two years of civil war. He continues to place pressure on the international community for a peace conference on Syria, without any veto on participants.

The nunciature is not planning to close or move its staff. «Papal legations are never closed,» Fr Giorgio told Asia News. «We shall only take a few precautions.”

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Zenari explained that the repercussions were limited to minor material damage, partly because the mortar attack occurred at 6.35 this morning, before the employees enter to work.

He added that this type of incident occurs on a regular basis in Syria; for instance, last Saturday the convent of the Franciscan Fathers in Aleppo was struck by two or three rockets which caused minor damage to the roof but fortunately caused no casualties. The same occurred in other parts of old Damascus last week, and rockets have fallen near to the nunciature on other occasions, causing residents, especially children, to flee.

The archbishop therefore called upon the international community and above all the parties to the conflict to increase their efforts to bring the conflict in Syria to an end, as “people suffer more every day, every day there are deaths, people abandon their homes and the number of refugees and displaced persons is rising”.

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