Pope Francis has used his first Christmas Day address to call for dialogue to end the conflict in South Sudan and all wars.
Speaking to tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square, he also mentioned the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Iraq.
And for the third year running, Syria was the main focus of the papal address which is also known as Urbi et Orbi.
“Let’s continue to pray to God, asking him to allow the beloved Syrian people not to have any more suffering, and to bring the warring parties to end all violence and to grant safe access for humanitarian aid,” he said.
“Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!” the pope added, saying the most vulnerable were the elderly, the sick, battered women – and children.
“Focus your eyes on the many children who are kidnapped, wounded and killed in armed conflicts, and on all those who are transformed into soldiers and robbed of their childhood.”
Pope Francis had a common theme throughout his Christmas message. Individuals, he said, had a role in promoting peace, either with their neighbours or between nations.