Syria Opposition Says Kidnapped Bishops 'in Good Health'

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria last month are "in good health," though there is no news on their whereabouts, an opposition official told reporters Saturday in Istanbul.

"Two or three days ago, a doctor visited the two bishops. They are in good health," said Abdul Ahad Steipho, member of the main opposition's National Coalition and of its committee established to follow up on the kidnappings.

Steipho added that his committee's attempts to enter into direct telephone contact with the kidnappers or the bishops have so far failed.

"We are receiving a lot of contradictory information on the identity of the kidnappers and their demands for ransom," he said.

Asked about any other leads the Coalition had, the dissident said: "These kidnappings are sometimes carried out by criminal gangs... other times by the regime (of President Bashar Assad) and sometimes by the brigades of the (rebel) Free Syrian Army, who use kidnappings as a way to exchange prisoners."

"The two bishops are well known in Syria for their humanitarian work, and their defense of peaceful coexistence among religious groups in Syrian society," said Steipho.

Their kidnapping "sends a signal to Christians in Syria and other countries in the Middle East... For these reasons we want to ensure they are released," he added.

The two bishops, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, 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".

Christians constitute some five percent of Syria's population, a patchwork of religious and ethnic groups.

Rights groups say Christians are especially vulnerable in the chaos that has engulfed Syria ever since the outbreak of a conflict in March 2011, which has so far killed some 90,000 people.

Comments 5
Default-user-icon Ozbengo Fartasham (Guest) 25 May 2013, 21:23

Their whereabouts? Turkey.

Default-user-icon John (Guest) 25 May 2013, 22:33

Maybe we can trade them for Geeaga

Thumb jcamerican 25 May 2013, 23:48

What is the purpose of the kidnapping? Surely they are not scoring any points.

Missing -karim_m1 26 May 2013, 06:18

"Steipho added that his committee's attempts to enter into direct telephone contact with the kidnappers or the bishops have so far failed".

LOL! They kidnapped the bishops themselves and now they're trying to "get in touch" with the kidnappers. The FSA-Al Qaeda terrorists have a sick sense of humor.

Default-user-icon A-Team (Guest) 26 May 2013, 13:02

What a bunch of retards. Lebanese people don't know anything better than clap for other people.

For the kidnappers: Walla katter khayrkon, ya3ne ghamartoona bi lotofkon. I hope you understand that your kidnaps have literally done nothing good to the cause, if there is a cause.

As for the comments: Screw FSA, Scren Assad, Screw Hezballah, Screw Al Qaeda, and screw everyone holding a gun...In fact, all of you punks should be watching out what's happening in Lebanon - There are enough Syrians caring for their country (in either sides). That's what you know best: clap for other people and fight for them.

Mind your G-d Damn business!