18April2014

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION IN SPECIAL CONSULTATIVE STATUS WITH THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Archbishops in Syria still abducted

APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY:
TWO ARCHBISHOPS IN SYRIA STILL ABDUCTED!

The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”) refers to the abduction case of two Archbishops from the Syriac Orthodox and Melkite (Greek Orthodox) Churches who, on Monday 22 April, were abducted by a foreign rebel group close to their metropolitan sees in Aleppo, Syria.

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Yesterday we received conflicting reports about their release, as announced by Arabic and Western media. State officials, Christian and Muslim clerics, members of the Syrian National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army were quoted as purportedly confirming that the Archbishops were freed.

However, the Syriac Orthodox and Melkite Patriarchs, archbishops, priests and parishes in Aleppo can, until this hour, not confirm their release. Currently there still exists tremendous confusion and anxiety worldwide about this case. The WCA continues to emphatically deny all rumors that they are freed until we have received unambiguous signs of life from the two spiritual fathers.

MorGregorius
Therefore, the WCA urgently appeals to the international community, in particular to government leaders and the mainstream media, to:

• retract or rectify all published stories about the release of the two church fathers;
• persist in their endeavors to identify the kidnappers, locate their whereabouts and reunite the two Metropolitans with their deeply concerned Archdioceses and relatives;
• continue to publicize about the plight of the two Archbishops as well as that of vulnerable groups in war-torn Syria in general, such as the Aramean (Syriac) Christian people.

As soon as the two Archbishops are alleged to be released, we request that they be granted the possibility to speak directly with their Archdioceses and relatives to take away their deep concerns. Only when they have had contact with their loved ones, we will be convinced about their freedom.

The WCA will persistently ask the international community and rebel forces to step up their efforts to intervene in this case until the clerics have returned home safe and well. It is requested from the media to be more thorough in this highly sensitive issue. We are grateful to the understanding and support of all governments, churches, NGOs and media on this disturbing matter.

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For Immediate Release: London, 24 April 2013
For further information, please contact: Mr. Daniel Gabriel
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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