On December 12th, Syrian President Bashar al-Asad received a letter from Pope Francis, relayed to him by Damascus's Papal Ambassador, Cardinal Mario Zinari.

Syria's SANA agency said that Pope Francis expressed in his letter his deep sympathy with Syria under the difficult circumstances it is currently facing, stressing the Vatican's outright condemnation of all forms of extremism and terrorism.

Pope Francis also called in his letter for all parties to work together to put an end to the war on Syria and the return of peace to its lands so that it would again be a model of coexistence between different culture and religions.

On his part, Asad congratulated ambassador Zinari on his promotion to Cardinal, pointing out that his remaining in Syria after achieving this rank reflects the great importance Pope Francis gives both Syria and its people.

Assad also stressed that Syria is bent on restoring security and stability. 

Zinari himself said that Syria is the cradle of Christianity and Divine Religions. It is an important state with a pivotal role in the region, and therefore it must overcome its current difficulties and return better than it was.