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Worries Grow About Fate Of Kidnapped Syrian Bishops

The fate of the two bishops kidnapped in Syria on April 22 is still unknown, but they are feared to have been abducted and killed by Chechen jihadists, according to a Lebanese official.
Greek Orthodox Patriarch John Yazigi (C) leads a prayer at the Balamand Monastery in Koura, near the north Lebanese city of Tripoli, to call for the release of bishops kidnapped in northern Syria two months ago, June 22, 2013. Patriarch John Yazigi led the candle-lit vigil on Saturday for Greek Orthodox archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim, appealing to their kidnappers to free them and urging Syrian security forces to do more to win their release. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim (LEBA
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A multitude of grim indications have surfaced about the tragic kidnapping of two bishops at the hands of armed factions in Syria. This most heinous of kidnappings in the ongoing Syrian conflict began on April 22, when news spread that gunmen near Aleppo had abducted the city’s Syriac Orthodox Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi, Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox bishop, who happens to be the brother of Greek Orthodox Patriarch Yohanna X Yazigi. Just hours after the incident, reports spread that the kidnappers were a group of armed Chechen jihadists.

Prominent Syrian opposition member Michel Kilo even wrote about the subject in the April 27 issue of the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, claiming that the bishops were “released a little over a day after their abduction, only to be reapprehended by another faction, a few kilometers from the first faction’s location.” Since then, no traces or news of the bishops have surfaced. A Lebanese security official who visited Damascus a few days ago and is known to have close ties with Syrian authorities conveyed to Al-Monitor the pessimistic atmosphere in the Syrian capital about the fate of the bishops.

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