Syriac group urges for bishops’ release

Syriac group urges for bishops’ release

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Syriac group urges for bishops’ release

Rebels attend a training session near the al-Turkman mountains, Latakia. AFP photo

A Brussels-based Syriac group, the European Syriac Union (ESU), has urged the “unconditional” release of two bishops who were kidnapped last week in Syria and organized rallies in Belgium and Sweden.

“The terror attacks reached the tipping point against Syriac people in Syria on April 22. The bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim, and the bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church, Boulos Yaziji, were kidnapped by unknown persons around Aleppo,” the statement said, urging the immediate release of the two bishops. They were kidnapped on April 22 by armed men en route from the Turkish border. The group has also called for the immediate release of Syriac and Christian hostages and prisoners held by both sides.

The ESU has also organized two rallies, one in Belgium and the other Sweden, for the release of the two bishops. Tuna Çelik, the ESU’s Turkey representative, told the Hürriyet Daily News that a serious disinformation period started following the kidnappings.

Release news ‘not true’

“There is still no news regarding the bishops. From the first day, several press institutions spread news saying they had been released or they would be released. Those are not true. We have not received any information about the bishops’ situation. Actually we think that this disinformation is being done deliberately.”

Meanwhile, Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Beirut John X. met April 26 with Turkey’s Ambassador to Lebanon İnan Özyıldız. The situation of the bishops was on the patriarch’s agenda, while Özyıldız said Turkey was resuming its efforts regarding the matter.