Aleppo: two Orthodox bishops still captive, Christian neighbourhood shelled

Bishops Kidnapped

For Mgr Jeanbart, Greek Melkite bishop of Aleppo, “Catholic and Orthodox religious authorities are working for the release of the two prelates.” Their abduction remains a mystery. Mortars devastate one of the city’s main Christian neighbourhoods, killing four.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) – The two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Aleppo are still in the hands of kidnappers, Mgr. Jean-Clement Jeanbart, Greek Melkite bishop of Aleppo, told AsiaNews. “The Catholic and Orthodox Churches are doing their best to mediate with the kidnappers,” the prelate added, “but at present no one understands the reasons for this act and who is behind these criminals.”

Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yaziji of Aleppo, and Yohanna Ibrahim, Syrian Orthodox bishop of the diocese of the same city, were abducted on 22 April in Kafr Dael, 10km from Aleppo, on the Turkish border. Their driver, a Syrian Orthodox deacon, was killed.

This morning, mortar rounds hit one of the city’s main Christian neighbourhoods. The shelling killed four people and several houses have collapsed.

“The situation in the city is terrible; no one is safe, not even the Christians,” said Archbishop Jeanbart.

Christians have not taken sides with either the rebels or regime. “I do not know who fired at Christian homes or why,” the prelate explained, “but it sure was not a ballistic mistake.”

The bishop appealed again to the Western world. “Stop this war!” he said. “Help Syrian leaders choose dialogue and reconciliation over conflict and hatred!” (S.C.)

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