Despite news claiming the two bishops were released by their abductors on Tuesday afternoon, the reality is much more sober and frustrating: Greek Orthodox Archbishop Pavlos and Syriac-Orthodox bishop Yohanna apparently remain in the hands of their kidnappers also on Wednesday noon.
News coming from the area through the official Syrian media, christian organizations and also the Patriarchate of Antiocheia create more confusion than shedding any light to the issue.
“Nobody knows anything on their whereabouts,” Greece’s state broadcaster NET TV reported on Wednesday, 12-o’clock news magazine.
According to NET report, the two bishops had their mobile phones in the first hour of their abduction and it was them who informed their colleagues on the incident. “Please, let everybody know, e have been abducted,” they allegedly said in their phone conversation. However, their mobiles were silenced after some time.
NET reported further, that “Syriac-Orthodox Bishop Yohanna was on the way to a village near the border with Turkey in order to release two other abducted clerics. He had invited Archbishop Pavlos too accompany him in this humanitarian mission.”
Nobody seems to be sure about the abductors. Official Syrian media blamed the opposition, which on it part denied any involvement. According to NET “the Syrian opposition is claimed to play a negotiator’s role in the kidnapping.”
Other sources claimed, it was “Chechen jihadists” behind the abduction.
There is suspiction that the claims about the bishops’ release on Tuesday were aiming to give time to abductors to relocate their victims. Not to exclude is also the possibility to create ‘misty conditions’ in the context of misinformation and have foreign factors out of the issue.
But main question remains: what is the purpose for the abduction of the two Christian bishops and whether they could be ‘traded’ for political concessions and thus from the Christian Church and politicians. Or do they aim to launch a ‘religious war’ between Christians and Muslims?
Appeals for their released were issued by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios, Catholic Church leader Pope Franciskus and the Church of Moscow.
The two bishops were abducted on Monday afternoon near the village Kfar Dael, the kidnappers shoot the driver and one cleric .
It is not the first time that Christian clerics fell victim of abduction in Syria but it is the first time that high-ranking clerics are been kidnapped.
PS footage apparently showing the shot driver in a lake of blood has been uploaded on YouTube by a Greek website. A voice speaks in Arabic and features the driver’s licence as well. The source of this video cannot be identified, Greek media report.
Could anyone, please, translate what is been said in Arabic?
I cannot upload the video here, too graphic.