Pope Francis has asked God to ‘convert the hearts of those who sow death and destruction’ following a series of deadly attacks by the Islamic State group (ISIS) in Syria.
While speaking during his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square, on Wednesday, May 25, the pontiff prayed for “eternal rest to the victims” and “consolation to their relatives” after suicide attacks in the regime’s coastal heartland that killed more than 150 people on Monday.
Francis said almost all the victims of the seven explosions targeting bus stations, hospitals and other civilian sites in the seaside cities of Jableh and Tartus were “unarmed civilians”. Eight of them were children.
“It is the duty of everyone to protect children, most of all those exposed to a high risk of exploitation, trafficking and deviant behaviours,” He added, “prayer is not a magic wand,” it is our daily bread, our powerful weapon and the staff for our journey.”
“We pray in this Mass, for the victims of this cruelty – so many of them – we pray also for the perpetrators of such cruelty, that the Lord might change their hearts,”
On Monday, a series of seven deadly coordinated blasts targeted Syrian cities of Tartus and Jableh killing over 150 people including children. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.