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ICC Note:
As the Syrian crises continues and the fate of two kidnapped Christian leaders remains unknown. The Bishops Gregorius Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Boulos Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church were taken while returning from a humanitarian mission in Turkey in late April. Christians remain caught in the middle of the ongoing conflict between primarily Sunni Rebels and the Shi’ite president Bashar al-Assad. U.S. Congressmen Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Frank Wolf, R-Va., recently wrote on the significance of the kidnapped Bishops. “At stake are not just the lives of two religious men, or even the fate of the Syrian Christian community, but the fate of any hope of tolerance and pluralism in the Syrian endgame — and perhaps in the region as a whole.”
by Matthew Brown
6/4/2013 Syria (Deseret News) – The uprising in Syria began as a peaceful protest for diversity and democracy during the Arab Spring of 2011. But it has turned into a holy war between Shiite and Sunni sects of Islam — with Christians and other minorities caught in the middle.
The highest profile Christian victims of the civil war are two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in late April, and there is still no official word as to the whereabouts or fate of the two clerics, who were abducted as they returned from a humanitarian mission in Turkey.
“We are deeply worried for the lives of Archbishop Mor Gregorius Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Bishop Boulos Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, in a statement on May 21, according to The Guardian. “The United States and the international community must leave no stone unturned to free the archbishops and halt sectarian violence.”

Christians are caught in the middle of the sectarian battle, and are not sure whom to trust — the oppressive regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is supported by Shiites but under which Christians have been able to thrive in Syrian society, or the Sunni rebels who want to overthrow Assad with the help of radical Islamist groups whom Christians fear as their persecutors.

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