Violence in Aleppo is 'evil' and 'demonic', says Archbishop of Canterbury

 'It's as bad as anything we’ve seen in the last century - and there have been terrible atrocities,' says Justin Welby

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The Independent Online

The plight of Syrian people in Aleppo is “demonic” and “absolute contempt for the human spirit,” the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Speaking during a visit to the Vatican in Rome, Justin Welby described the Syrian conflict as being “as bad as anything we’ve seen in the last century - and there have been terrible atrocities.”

In an interview with ITV News, the Archbishop said: “What is being done is evil, it is demonic, it is the absolute contempt for the human spirit, for the dignity of the human being.

“It is the brushing aside of the poor and the weak and the fragile, in a way that is as bad as anything we’ve seen in the last century.”

When asked whether the United Nations (UN) had failed in its mission to bring peace, Mr Welby asserted that the organisation had limitations. He said: “One has to ask: what could they have done? 

“The UN has no army. The UN has done what it could do. The UN is a fallible and weak institution. Of course it is, it’s human. The UN is where you bring the worst hatreds in the world, and you put them in a room and see if you can make some progress. Sometimes it does – on this occasion it hasn’t.

“Has it failed? Yes, of course it’s failed but we’ve all failed.”

On the subject of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Archbishop said: "His stepping aside would be the most heroic thing he could do in his life and the best decision he’d ever taken.”

The Archbishop was in Rome to encourage greater unity between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church, but discussion was reportedly dominated by the conflict in Syria.

The city of Aleppo has been pounded by Syrian and Russian planes since the collapse of a US-Russia brokered ceasefire two weeks ago.

The UN estimates 275,000 people are trapped in a government siege, with Syrian pro-government forces is attacking the city from the south in a stepped-up bid to penetrate opposition-controlled areas.