Archbishop of Syria's Aleppo welcomes Russia strikes
The Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo welcomed Russia's massive military escalation in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, describing it in an interview Thursday with Swiss television as a source of "hope" for the country's Christians.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, said Jean-Clement Jeanbart, "serves the Christians' cause", he told Television Suisse Romande, adding that he nonetheless knew that Moscow was ultimately protecting its own interests by launching strikes in Syria.
Jeanbart also spoke of a "renewal of confidence" among Christians in Syria -- who like other religious minorities have suffered horrific persecution chiefly at the hands of the Islamic State group, which has seized large swathes of the war-torn country.
Putin "is solving a problem", added the archbishop, referring to a Russian campaign of air strikes in defence of Assad's regime that began on September 30.
Jeanbart in 2012 called for Assad to be given a chance, less than a year into a peaceful uprising seeking democratic reform that was met with a fierce government crackdown.
© 2015 AFP