Senior Christian Clerics Kidnapped in Syria

Friday, May 17, 2013

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

syriaDAMASCUS, SYRIA (Worthy News)-- In April, two senior clerics caught in the Syrian civil war were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen and remain in captivity, their whereabouts unknown.

Bishop Boulos Yaziji of the Greek Orthodox Church and Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim, head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, were in the Aleppo countryside when armed men intercepted their car and took them at gunpoint.

Both Christian and Muslim religious leaders expressed concern over the kidnappings and called for the clerics quick release, according to International Christian Concern.

"While this is not the first time church officials have been kidnapped," said Aidan Clay, ICC's Regional Manager in the Middle East, "Archbishops Boulos Yaziji and Yohanna Ibrahim are the most senior church leaders abducted in Syria's civil war to date."

"Syria's war is increasingly mimicking the war in Iraq where some 200 Christians were kidnapped for ransom between 2003 and 2012 ... Many fear that if the war continues without resolution, Syrian Christians will follow the path of other ancient Christian communities throughout the Middle East such as Iraq where more than half the Christian population has fled and some 900 Christians have been killed following the outbreak of war in 2003."

According to ICC, Syria's Christians are caught between Islamist rebels and the secular Assad regime; while the Islamists consider Christians to be Assad loyalists, the regime eyes them with suspicion.