Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec 2, 2013 / 03:55 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Argentina’s House of Representatives has passed a resolution to nominate Pope Francis for the Nobel Peace Prize for his call to end the violence in Syria.
The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority and now goes to the Senate for ratification. Representative Oscar Martinez, who sponsored the resolution, described Pope Francis as “a man who throughout this year has been decisive in maintaining international peace through his clear position regarding the conflict in Syria.” Since his election to the papacy, Pope Francis has made repeated calls for peace in Syria. He sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 Summit in which he called on the international community to work for an end to the violence in Syria and to reject any military intervention. The Syrian conflict has now dragged on for more than 2.5 years, since demonstrations sprang up nationwide on March 15, 2011 protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president and leader of the country's Ba'ath Party. In April of that year, the Syrian army began to deploy to put down the uprisings, firing on protesters. Since then, the violence has morphed into a civil war which has claimed the lives of more than 115,000 people. There are at least 2.2 million Syrian refugees in nearby countries, most of them in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. An additional 6.5 million Syrian people are believed to have been internally displaced by the war. The Syrian rebels are made up of a large variety of groups, including both moderates and Islamist extremists, as well as Kurds. Reports that chemical weapons had been used against civilians in Syria, killing more than 1,400 people, led to a discussion of possible international military action. Pope Francis called for a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace on Sept. 7. After weeks of negotiation, an international agreement was reached to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons without a military strike.