Homs: Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned the "destruction" of Syria at a general audience in St Peter`s Square following the murder of a Catholic priest in Homs.
"May the weapons fall silent! No more war, no more destruction," Francis said, expressing his "profound pain" after the killing of Father Franz van der Lugt.
"He was loved and valued by both Christians and Muslims," the pope told some 45,000 faithful assembled on the famous Vatican piazza.
"It filled me with profound pain and made me think of all the people who suffer and die in the martyred country," he said.
Pope Francis has repeatedly called for dialogue and reconciliation in Syria, appealing for the international community to stop supplying arms to the government and the opposition and condemning the threat of military intervention.