Five Year Anniversary of Kidnapped Archbishops

ICC Note: Five years ago, two archbishops were kidnapped by militants in an incident which was the first time that senior Christian officials were targeted in Syria’s civil war. The archbishops belonged to the Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox churches and were kidnapped after carrying out humanitarian work. Their fate remains unknown.

04/23/2018 Syria (AINA) – The Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Beirut called for the release of two kidnapped archbishops Saturday on the fifth anniversary of their abduction in Syria.

Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were abducted in April 2013 by gunmen while en route to the northern Syrian city from the Turkish border.

Qatar and Russia have previously been tipped as intervening to secure their release, but until now, no results have been seen.

“However, all available evidence and indications encourage continued optimism,” a statement from the Archdiocese said.

“We call on peace makers, freedom and human rights advocates all over the world, heads of churches, members of royal families, heads of states and governments who are directly or indirectly concerned with the Syrian crisis to pursue and keep the case alive in their hearts, minds and forums,” the statement added.

The Archdiocese also called for increased efforts to find out the fate of journalist Samir Kassab.

At the time of the kidnapping, state-run SANA news agency said the bishops were dragged from their car by “terrorists” after carrying out humanitarian work in the village of Kfour Dael in Aleppo province.

Their driver, also a priest, was killed during the attack. The incident marked the first time senior Christian figures were targeted in Syria’s civil war.

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