Pope Francis has sent a letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad calling on him and the international community to end the violence in the country and to seek a peaceful resolution to the hostilities. 

The Holy Father also condemend "all forms of extremism and terrorism", the Vatican said in a statement, and asked Assad to ensure humanitarian law is "fully respected with regard to the protection of the civilians and access to humanitarian aid." 

Here below is the full text of the statement:

"In naming Archbishop Mario Zenari to the College of Cardinals, the Holy Father sought to show a particular sign of affection for the beloved Syrian people, so sorely tried in recent years. In a letter sent through the new Cardinal, Pope Francis expressed again his appeal to President Bashar al-Assad and to the international community for an end to the to the violence, and the peaceful resolution of hostilities, condemning all forms of extremism and terrorism from whatever quarter they may come, and appealing to the President to ensure that international humanitarian law is fully respected with regard to the protection of the civilians and access to humanitarian aid."