Vatican City: Pope Francis has called on nations to give humanitarian aid to Syria's population and end the deadly conflict in the country.
The abduction of a Greek Orthodox and a Syriac Orthodox bishop in Syria's northern city of Aleppo was "a further sign of the tragic situation that the beloved Syrian nation has been undergoing, where violence and weapons continue to sow death and suffering", the pope said at a general audience in St. Peter's Square.
"I renew the urgent appeal that I made at Easter, that the bloodshed cease. May the necessary humanitarian assistance be given to the people and may a political solution to the crisis be found as soon as possible," he said.
The UN says some 70,000 people have been killed, nearly 1.4 million have fled their homes and seven million people need humanitarian aid in Syria.
The conflict between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.