Anniversary of the kidnapping of two bishops in Syria (22th April)

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The Society of Threatened Peoples asks the Emir of Qatar for help: Enlighten the fate of the two kidnapped Christian dignitaries!
The Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) has appealed to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Wednesday to assist in the investigation of the fate of two Christian bishops. The 22th April 2014 marks the day of their abduction, without any sign of life from the two dignitaries from Aleppo. “Many Christians in Syria are very concerned about the Metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Mar Gregorius Yoanna Ibrahim and the Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Church, Boulos Yazigi. Please help in the elucidation of the fate of the two Christian dignitaries from Aleppo”, Tilman Zülch, Secretary General of the Society, wrote in a letter to the Emir of Qatar. The government of Qatar has great influence on the armed groups and has already helped in the release of Sisters of Maalula on 9 March 2014. Even with the release of eleven Shiite Lebanese who were kidnapped in the Syrian Azaz on 22 May 2012, Qatar has provided assistance.
One year ago the two Syrian bishops came into an ambush when they were in Al Mansura, near the northern Syrian city on the way to conduct negotiations on the release of a kidnapped priest. The driver, a deacon, was shot dead by the kidnappers. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the act.
The area where the Christians were kidnapped, is fought between the forces of Assad and the Islamist rebels. It is known that extremist groups such as “the Islamic State in Iran and Syria” (ISIS), the al-Nusra Front and other groups of the mostly Sunni opponents of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad repeatedly kidnap Christians and Kurds and executed them immediately. Among the rebels there are
also many foreign Sunni jihadists who enter Syria via Turkey to assist “their religious brothers and sisters in the war against the Shiite-dominated regime in Damascus.” While the Sunni-dominated governments of the Gulf Arab emirate Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are supporting the rebels with money and weapons, Assad gets backing from Shiite Iran. The Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah even takes part directly in the fighting on the side of the regime.
The religious and ethnic minorities such as the Christian Armenians and Assyro-Aramean, the Muslim and Yezidi Kurds, Druze and other ethnic groups make up at least 45 percent of the Syrian population. They will be increasingly caught in the crossfire.

The Middle East Speaker Dr. Kamal Sido reached at mobile number 0173 67 33 980

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Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker / Society for Threatened Peoples
P.O. Box 20 24 – D-37010 Göttingen/Germany

Nahostreferat/ Middle East Desk
Dr. Kamal Sido – Tel: +49 (0) 551 49906-18 – Fax: +49 (0) 551 58028

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