Maronite Bishops: All Sides Must Stop Fueling Syrian Crisis

The Maronite Bishops Council voiced on Saturday its concern with the ongoing crisis in Syria and the political deadlock in Lebanon.

It said in a statement after its annual retreat in Bkirki and headed by Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi: “We call on all sides to stop pouring fuel over the fire raging in Syria.”

“We call for the end of the unrest in Syria and a return to dialogue in order for its people and those of the region to live in peace,” it demanded.

The bishops also condemned the kidnappings linked to the crisis, including the ongoing abduction of Bishops Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji.

They were kidnapped at the end of April, reportedly near the rebel-held town of Kafr Dael, near Aleppo in northern Syria.

No group has claimed responsibility for their kidnap, but sources close to the Greek Orthodox Church and the Syrian authorities have claimed the kidnappers were "Chechen jihadists".

Addressing the situation in Lebanon, the Maronite bishops expressed their “great concern” over the political deadlock, particularly the politicians' failure to agree on a new parliamentary electoral law, the extension of parliament's mandate, and the inability to stage the elections.

“These developments harm Lebanon's image of diversity and democracy,” they lamented.

Parliament's term was extended over the blocs' failure to agree on a new electoral law, which has consequently postponed the elections.

The term was extended for 17 months therefore delaying the elections to next year.

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