G8 Leaders Endorse Syrian Peace Conference “As Soon as Possible”

g8-syria-280x180There was a renewed international push this week for an end to the civil war in Syria. According to the United Nations, 93,000 people have died in the two-year conflict. The number of people fleeing the violence has pushed the worldwide total of refugees to an 18-year high. At this week’s G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, participating countries called for peace talks to be held as soon as possible but did not demand Bashir al Assad step down. They pledged $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid. Religious groups were mainly supportive of the efforts, saying a ceasefire should be a top priority. Some, however, cautioned against President Obama’s recent decision to arm the Syrian rebels. Two prominent U.S. bishops warned that would only increase the violence and suffering. Evangelist Franklin Graham voiced similar concerns, adding the opposition is no better than the Assad regime.