ICC Note: Syrian Priest Jacques Mourad has reportedly been freed and able to return to a nearby town in Syria. The reports have not clarified the circumstances that led to his release. He was abducted by gunmen in May from the Mar Elian Monastery. ISIS has since taken control of al-Qaryatian and issued a “pact” that all Christians must follow or else face death.
10/12/2015 Syria (ARA News) – Syrian priest Jacques Mourad, who was abducted in May in the central province of Homs, “is free” and on Sunday conducted “his first mass” since his abduction, a church source reported.
“Father (Jacques) Mourad is free. He is currently in the village of Zaydal,” the source told AFP.
“The priest of the Syriac Catholic Church celebrated mass this morning in Zaydal,” the source reported, without providing details on how he gained his freedom, citing security reasons.
In May, ISIS gunmen reportedly abducted Father Jacques Mourad, head of Mar Elian monastery in al-Qaryatain town, after the extremists seized the nearby ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria.
ISIS militants took over al-Qaryatain town in August, subsequent to fierce clashes with forces loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Some 37 regime soldiers were killed, while ISIS lost 23 militants during the battle for al-Qaryatain.
The radical group had abducted more than 230 civilians from the town, including 60 Christians.