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Syria Opinion: The Vatican's Dangerous Game On "Persecution" Plays Into Assad's Hands

UPDATE: Two news items signal that the Vatican has reversed course on this narrative, even after pushing the anti-opposition rhetoric harder in the last few days.

The first, and likely most important, news is that the Vatican's ambassador to Syria, Archbishop Nuncio Mario Zenari, has denied that Christians are being targeted by Sunnis. Archibishop Zenari said that for all people, "the descent into hell has started," and even cited UN reports of children being used as human shields.

Archbishop Zenari also signaled that the Church may be in a position to help negotiate:

"It is the Christians' mission to play the role of a link at all levels," he said.

"They're active in very painful situations, such as in Homs where we have priests, nuns and monks ... who are setting an example and risk their lives."

Concerning the issue raised in my original article (below), the Archbishop dismissed claims that Sunnis in the opposition were targeting Christians.

So far, I would say that Christians share the same sad fate as all Syrians (...) I would not say that they are the object of particular discriminations, less so persecutions," said Zenari.

The lot of Christians in Syria today does not compare to that in other countries in the region, he said. "Sometimes it is compared to Iraq, but you cannot compare this."

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