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Pope warns Syria could become 'a field of ruins'

Pope Benedict has urged the international community to end what he called the endless slaughter in Syria before the entire country becomes a "a field of ruins."

He made the appeal in particularly strong terms during a yearly "state of the world" address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican.

Pope Benedict at the Epiphany Mass yesterday Credit: Reuters

He said Syria, where the United Nations estimates that 60,000 people have been killed, was "torn apart by endless slaughter and (is) the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population".

He called for an "end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins."