Pope Francis has criticized countries that talk of wanting peace in Syria, yet continue to supply arms to the warring sides.
The Pope did not name any names, but said in a video message to a charity group holding a conference on Syria: "While the people suffer, incredible quantities of money are being spent to supply weapons to fighters. And some of the countries supplying these arms are also among those that talk of peace.
"How can you believe in someone who caresses you with the right hand and strikes you with the left hand?” he added.
According to international estimates, the war in Syria, currently in its fifth year, has claimed more than 400,000 lives, and a further 11 million have been displaced. As a conflict, it has created the biggest international refugee crisis since World War II.
Prospects look bleak, with the latest Syria peace talks stalled. The UN envoy to Syria told the Security Council last week it was difficult to say when they would resume.
Coinciding with the pontiff’s remarks was a fresh report by Amnesty International, which condemns the torture, punishment and murder perpetrated by jihadist groups against the people in northern Syria. The report documents “chilling” and widespread abuse of human rights, particularly in the volatile Aleppo and Idlib provinces.
The current international involvement includes some Sunni monarchies, together with the US and Britain, which continue to supply so-called moderate rebels with arms. The loosely organized opposition carries on its fight against the forces of President Bashar Assad, who is being supported and armed by Russia and Iran