UN Report Says Syria Has Reached “New Levels of Brutality”; Pope Calls for Release of Hostages

syria-humanitarian-crisis-united nationsGrowing humanitarian concerns this week about the situation in Syria: United Nations investigators reported “new levels of brutality” from both sides in Syria’s more than two-year-long conflict. The report documented systematic imposition of sieges, the use of chemical agents, and forcible displacement of civilians. The lead UN investigator said “crimes that shock the conscience have become a daily reality.” Pope Francis added his voice of concern several times this week. On Sunday (June 2), he called for the release of hostages, including two Orthodox archbishops kidnapped in April. And during his Wednesday general audience he urged more help for the Syrian people, saying their destiny was close to his heart.