ASIA/SYRIA - Syrian Orthodox priest: negotiations under way in Baghuz for the release of Archbishop Mar Gregorios

Friday, 8 March 2019 middle east   oriental churches  


Baghuz (Agenzia Fides) - Syrian Orthodox priest Samuel Gümüs, engaged in the pastoral care of the Syrian Orthodox communities present in Germany, declared that the Orthodox Syrian Metropolitan of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, is held prisoner by the jihadist militiamen of the Islamic State ( Daesh) besieged in the Baghuz area of eastern Syria, and "negotiations" for his release are under way. The statements of Father Samuel are reported by Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar, close to the Shiite Hezbollah Party, a newspaper that some days ago also mentioned Kurdish sources, according to which Roman Jesuit Father Paolo Dall'Oglio is among the hostages of the militants of the Islamic State (Daesh) in that last pocket of territory controlled by the jihadists (see Fides, 4/3/2019).
Father Samuel Gümüs, in the statements reported by al-Akhbar, refers to "negotiations currently conducted by the democratic forces of Syria and by the forces of the Allied coalition" in order to also favor the release of Mar Gregorios. The same Lebanese newspaper reports that the veracity of the information widespread is difficult to ascertain, even for the absence of official statements by the military forces operating in the area.
Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim disappeared on April 22, 2013 together with Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo Boulos al-Yazigi (who is not mentioned in the statements attributed to Father Gümüs) in the area between the Syrian metropolis and the border with Turkey. Since then, no group operating in the scenario of the Syrian conflict has officially claimed the kidnapping of the two Metropolitan Bishops. In August 2017, in a speech broadcast by Lebanese TV, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, reported that he had asked about the fate of the two Archbishops during a phase of negotiations with some emissaries of Daesh, who, according to Nasrallah, at that time, had denied any useful information regarding their disappearance. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 8/3/2019)