Syria: prominent bishops kidnapped as people continue to flee violence

2013-04-23 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) A pair of prominent Syrian bishops were kidnapped on Monday by armed rebels in the northern province of Aleppo. The Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Archbishops of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, were seized in the village of Kfar Dael, on the road to Aleppo from the rebel-held Bab al Hawa crossing with Turkey. The two bishops are the most senior Church leaders caught up in the conflict, which has killed more than 70,000 people across Syria.

Christians make up less than 10 percent of the country's 23 million people. In September of last year, hundreds of Christian families fled Aleppo as rebels and soldiers battled for control of the city, which is the country's largest. At the time, Bishop Ibrahim said, “In its modern history Aleppo has not seen such critical and painful times,” adding, “Christians have been attacked and kidnapped in monstrous ways.”

As fighting continues, thousands of people continue to flee Syria each week. Estimates say that nearly half of them are children. This is a complex regional crisis that now has entered its third year, one of the biggest our teams have seen for years. An emergency communications manager for Save the Children, Hedinn Halldorsson is recently returned from a visit to camps in Jordan and Lebanon. “This is a complex regional crisis that now has entered its third year,” Haldorsson said, calling the crisis, “one of the biggest our teams have seen for years.” Listen to Vatican Radio’s Chris Altieri discuss the refugee crisis with Hedinn Haldorsson of Save the Children: