Pope appeals for Middle East peace in Christmas message
Pope called for a ‘political solution’ to the conflict in Syria [Vatican Media via Reuters]
Pope Francis has called for peace in conflict zones such as Syria and Yemen, as millions across the world celebrated Christmas on Tuesday.
The head of the world's 1.3 billion Catholic Christians said in his Christmas message that he hoped Yemen's recent truce would end a war that has killed about 10,000 people since 2015 and pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine.
"My wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity," he told pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square on Tuesday, when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
"Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture. Fraternity among people with different ideas... Fraternity among persons of different religions."
"My thoughts turn to Yemen, in the hope that the truce brokered by the international community may finally bring relief to all those children and people exhausted by war and famine," he said.
The pope also spoke of the war in Syria, which has forced millions from their homes and reduced swaths of the country to rubble.
He called for a "political solution" to the conflict "so that the Syrian people, especially all those who were forced to leave their own lands and seek refuge elsewhere, can return to live in peace in their own country".