CWN - Syria’s President Bashar al Assad met on July 4 with the newly elected Melkite Catholic Patriarch Youssef Absi and a delegation from the Melkite Synod.

The Syrian leader said that the Christian churches of Syria can play a key role in helping to restore peace to the country, by counteracting the influence of “extremist” religious ideologies that nourish terrorism. Assad characterized the current civil war in Syria as a conflict with terrorists, and argued that Christians can help to restore a common sense of national unity.