Last updated: 5 November, 2013

Mortar round hits Vatican embassy in Damascus

A mortar round hit the Vatican embassy in Damascus on Tuesday morning, damaging the building but causing no casualties, a diplomat told AFP.

“A mortar round fell this morning at 6:30 am (0430 GMT) on the embassy rooftop, causing only material damage,” said Giorgio Ghezza, counsellor at the papal nunciature.

Later, the apostolic nuncio to Syria, Archbishop Mario Zenari, told Vatican Radio that mortar rounds frequently hit central areas of the capital city.

“We do not know why it happened… We cannot say that the Vatican embassy was targeted,” he said.

Zenari went on to say that the international community needs to strengthen its efforts to bring an end to the conflict.

“The Syrian people want that the violence should stop immediately,” he said.

“They are fed up with this conflict.”

Syria’s war has killed more than 120,000 people and forced millions more to flee their homes.

In recent months, the violence has encroached further into the capital, which is squarely under regime control but is surrounded by rebel enclaves that have been long subjected to suffocating sieges.