Violence has raged in Syria since 2011 when President Bashar al-Assad's regime sought to quell the rebellion against the government. At least 20,000 people have died in the conflict, many of those killed being civilians. Most recently, Syrian government forces have continued an assault on the rebel-held city of Aleppo, forcing thousands of people to flee. The Syrian government has received widespread criticism from the international community for the bloodshed it has incurred throughout the conflict.
The Holy Father declared, after the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, that he has been following "with concern the tragic and increasing violence in Syria, with its depressing sequence of deaths and injuries, also among civilians, and huge numbers of internally displaced persons and refugees in neighbouring States."
The Holy Father also called on the international community to help ensure that "necessary humanitarian assistance and aid be guaranteed" to those affected by the violence in Syria.
"In renewing the expression of my closeness to the suffering people and my recollection of them in my prayers, I renew my appeal for all violence and bloodshed to end," the pope said.
"I ask God to give wisdom of heart, especially to those in positions of greatest responsibility, so that no effort may be spared in the search for peace, also on the part of the international community, through dialogue and reconciliation, with a view to finding an adequate political solution to the conflict."