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Waiting for a chink of light
ICC Note: As the conflict continues on in Syria the situation remains grim for the country’s Christians. It has now been 100 days since the kidnapping of two Bishops. Word came out this week of the kidnapping of another Priest who is believed to have been taken. With both sides continuing to battle there is little space for anyone who attempts to remain neutral or advocate for dialogue, as many Christians have attempted to do.
7/31/2013 Syria (Economist) – FOR people concerned about the fate about Syria’s Christian minority, these are dark times. It has now been exactly 100 days since two bishops from the ancient city of Aleppo were kidnapped near the Turkish border, and there is no definite news of their fate.
About a month ago, a deputy speaker of the Russian legislature, attending a meeting in Athens of Orthodox Christian parliamentarians, said the session had received “evidence” that the two clerics had been killed. There has also been a Turkish news report that a woman and two men, all suspected of detaining and possibly killing the clerics, had been arrested in central Turkey, and then deported from the country.
But a senior churchman from the region told me that Syria’s Christian hierarchs had no reliable information about the whereabouts of their missing colleagues: Boulos Yazigi, whose brother is the Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, and Yohanna Ibrahim, who belongs to the “Oriental Orthodox” family of churches.
Meanwhile there were acute worries today about a well-known Italian Jesuit who has put down deep roots in Syria: Father Paolo Dall’Oglio (pictured), a critic of the Assad regime who has been working for 20 years to restore a Christian monastery near Damascus, in a spirit of “openness to dialogue” with Islam. According to “activists” quoted by Reuters, he was abducted by rebels close to al-Qaeda in the east Syrian town of Raqqa. The Jesuit father was expelled from Syria by the Assad regime last year but has apparently managed to regain access via rebel-controlled territory.

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