Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Daily Star: Abducted Bishops in Good Health, Held by Rebels

From the May 9 an-Nahar, here.

 The Free Syrian Army will not free the bishops by force

Following information that indicated the possiblity that Bishops Paul Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim are being held in the village of Bshaqtin, about 20km northwest of Aleppo, an-Nahar has learned that the chief military faction in the armed opposition, the Free Syrian Army, has refused to send its units to storm the place where the two bishops are being held, fearing that the bishops would be killed in any attempt to free them by force.

Sources add that the leaders of FSA units in the area have informed Syrian National Council president George Sabra that any liberation operation might have grave consequences for the life of the kidnapped bishops and so it is better to treat the matter with patience and to continue negotiations, lest harm come to the two clergymen.

Yesterday members of the Syriac Orthodox Council in Aleppo and its region conveyed to Amine Gemayyel information about the state of fear and horror that Christian communities in the region of Aleppo are living in as a result of their fears about the fate of the two bishops who had represented a protection for the existence of Christians in the region.


From here.

Abducted Syrian bishops in good health, held by rebels

BEIRUT: Acting President of the Syrian National Council George Sabra said Wednesday that the two Greek Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria are being held in a small village north west of Aleppo by a rebel group.

In a telephone conversation with Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel, Sabra said that Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were both in good health and still in the custody of a small group of rebels in the Syrian town of Bshaqtin.

“The bishops are in good health and are being held by a small group in a town called Bshaqtin, 20 kilometers north west of Aleppo,” Sabra told Gemayel who was in a meeting with Syriac Orthodox bishops at the Kataeb Party’s headquarters in Saifi, according to Gemayel’s office.

Yazigi and Ibrahim were kidnapped last month by armed men while they were on their way to Aleppo from the Turkish border.

The meeting in Saifi was attended by Mount Lebanon’s Syriac Orthodox Bishop George Saliba, Beirut Bishop Daniel Koriyeh, Syriac League President Habib Efram and the Deputy Bishop of Aleppo Joseph Shabo.

Bishop Saliba also spoke to the Syrian opposition leader over the phone and urged him to secure the release of the kidnapped bishops.

When contacted by The Daily Star contacted, Sabra declined to comment on the matter.
Speaking during the meeting in Saifi, Gemayel said that the abduction of the two bishops constitutes a bad message to the Christian communities in Syria and the region.

For his part, Saliba said that fear might overwhelm Christians in the region if the bishops are not released. “I don’t know whether the Christians would leave the region because of this or stay and react to this kidnapping in a way that we do not want,” Saliba added.

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