CHRISTIAN LEADERS STILL MISSING: APPEAL TO SECURITY COUNCIL AND KIDNAPPERS
Following the abduction of two Christian Leaders from the Aleppo region of Syria, we are no closer now than we were 72 hours ago to discovering their whereabouts. Again unconfirmed reports about their release at 4 a.m. this morning have been released by the media. The World Council of Arameans (Syriacs), a United Nations NGO, pleads with both kidnappers and the United Nations Security Council (“SC”) to immediately find a way to resolve this catastrophe which will have major implications for the future of native Christianity in Syria.
Plea to Security Council
There is no question that sectarian violence is on the rise and there is no coincidence that the Christian minority of Syria is escaping from their original indigenous homelands for safety and security in whichever country that will accept them. This mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of indigenous Christians is destroying the long-term fabric and soul of the pluralistic Syrian nation.
The violence against Christians in Syria is nothing new. This prolonged and disastrous war has seen them face death, kidnappings, fear, threats, and not to mention their Christian places of worship being destroyed. Ample evidence illustrates these points. Now with the abduction of the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, H.E. Gregorius Hanna Ibrahim, and H.E. Boulos al-Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and Iskenderun, the Christian community in Syria lives with even more fear. The spiritual leaders are nowhere to be found and the silence in Syria on this issue is traumatising Christians across the world and in Syria itself.
Although Christians are not the only group targeted in this war, they are certainly the most susceptible to danger and loss. They have generally remained faithful to the Al-Assad Government, carried little or no defence weaponry or stayed in a position of neutrality. This has made them an easy target for militant rebel groups.
Request to Security Council
If no immediate action will be taken by the international community, it will inevitably lead to another mass exodus of the indigenous Aramean Christians in their homeland, many of whom are increasingly asking the WCA how they can flee as soon as possible from their ancestral land. A phenomenon which is not unlike the one we have seen in the last decade in Iraq and where the international community equally did not act timely and adequately.
Plea to Kidnappers
It is now more than 72 hours following the kidnapping of the spiritual fathers and all people of faith around the world live in fear for these two innocent men. The WCA asks the kidnappers to please make your demands clear or release the Archbishops from your custody. The Aramean (Syriac) people will go to the ends of the earth to ensure the safe return of our leaders and we therefore ask you to find it in your heart and soul to end this traumatic event.
The WCA asks all people in the Aleppo region, where the Archbishops are said to be held, to please be the eyes and ears of our people. If you have any knowledge about the whereabouts of the Archbishops, who are either inside our outside Syria, then please immediately inform the nearest police station.
At this time the, WCA and all its Aramean (Syriac) people worldwide pray for the health and safety of the two Archbishops. We are still deeply concerned about their wellbeing, but will continue to have hope and faith that the SC will take immediate action to bring this issue further into the light.
For Immediate Release: London, 26 April 2013
For further information, please contact: Mr. Daniel Gabriel