Syrian Christian opposition leader George Sabra told Pope Benedict XVI that the survival of the Damascus regime poses a threat to the country's Christians, the Syrian National Council said Sunday.
"The survival of the (President Bashar) Assad regime is a danger to Christians and Muslims in Syria alike," Sabra, who is spokesman for the opposition SNC, told the pontiff during a visit to the Vatican on Saturday.
Sabra, who was accompanied by the exiled group's head Abdel Basset Sayda in meeting the pope, also thanked him for his visit to Lebanon and guidance to Middle East Christians, the SNC said in a statement.
The pope last week travelled to Lebanon on a three-day visit in which he condemned religious fundamentalism, called for peace in the Middle East and urged an end to supplies of arms to both sides in Syria's civil war.
"The existence of Christians is a fact in our country, which is the first home of Christianity in the world," the SNC said.
"A democratic system, which the Syrian revolution seeks to build, is the true guarantee for the protection of the rights of all Syrian citizens," it added. (daily star)