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Release Abducted Nuns, Orthodox Bishop Urges Syrian Rebels

Bernard Gagnon

Catholic News Agency - published on 12/18/13 - updated on 06/08/17

Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulous Yazigi of Aleppo and Syriac Orthodox Bishop Yuhanna Ibrahim of Aleppo were abducted in April. Bishop Alnemeh said their fate is unknown, though there are rumors that only one bishop is still alive, and is being kept in either Syria or Turkey.

Bishop Alnemeh urged the international community, governments of neighboring countries and other organizations to bring an end to the Syrian civil war, now in its 32nd month.

The war is rooted demonstrations which sprang up nationwide on March 15, 2011 protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president and leader the country's Ba'ath Party.

In April of that year, the Syrian army began to deploy to put down the uprisings, firing on protesters. Since then, the violence has morphed into a civil war which has claimed the lives of more than 115,000 people.

There are 2.3 million Syrian refugees in nearby countries, most of them in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. An additional 6.5 million Syrian people are believed to have been internally displaced by the war.

Syrians are facing food insecurity, and a severe winter storm has brought freezing temperatures and snow to bear upon refugees in Lebanon without adequate shelter.

The Syrian civil war is being waged among the Syrian regime and various rebel groups, including both moderates such as the Free Syrian Army, Islamists such as al-Nusra Front, and Kurds.

On Dec. 11, both the US and UK announced the suspension of all “non-lethal” support, such as vehicles, communications equipment and medicine, to rebels in northern Syria, after the Islamic Front, a new rebel alliance, seized a Turkish border crossing operated by the Free Syrian Army.

Originally published by Catholic News Agency.

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