Through the Wire

Syria Strike Would be Catastrophe: Iraq Chaldean Leader

August 29, 2013
| Middle East and North Africa

A widely expected military strike on Syria would be "a catastrophe", the head of the Chaldean Christian church based in Iraq said Thursday, as Western countries edge in that direction.

Washington and its allies are pressing for military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime over suspected deadly chemical attacks last week, despite stern warnings against intervention from key Damascus supporters Russia and Iran.

"If there is a military strike on Syria, this would bring on a catastrophe," Archbishop Louis Sako, head of the Chaldean Church, told AFP.

Sako, based in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, warned of repeating "the same experience in Iraq," which is still "undergoing bombings, and security problems and lack of stability."

The Chaldean church, which has 700,000 followers worldwide and uses Aramaic, the language that Jesus Christ spoke, is one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

But along with other Iraqi Christian churches, it suffered persecution, forced flight and killings in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion.

The bloodiest single attack on the community came on October 31, 2010, when Islamist militants killed 44 worshippers and two priests in Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation church.


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