Two Aleppian bishops were kidnapped by Syrian rebels in the outskirts of the city Monday evening, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.
The Christian clergy members were reportedly carrying out humanitarian work when they were abducted at gunpoint.
Syrian state news agency SANA reported on Monday that two bishops from the Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Churches, respectively, had been kidnapped at gunpoint in the village of Kafr Dael in Aleppo Province.
“An armed terrorist group kidnapped Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim, head of the Syriac Orthodox Church [in Aleppo] and Bishop Boulos (Paul) Yaziji, head of the Greek Orthodox Church [in Aleppo] while they were on humanitarian operations in the village of Kafr Dael in Aleppo Province,” SANA said.
Christian residents of Aleppo told the AFP news agency that Ibrahim had driven in his car to the Bab al-Hawa crossing at the Turkish border to pick up Yaziji. The border crossing is under rebel control.
The car was then intercepted on its way back to Aleppo by gunmen, who killed the driver and then kidnapped the two bishops, according to the Christian community members contacted by AFP.
The driver of Boulos al-Yazigi, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and Iskandaroun and Yuhanna Ibrahim, the Syrian-Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, was killed during the attack.
A Syriac member of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Abdulahad Steifo, told the Reuters news agency that the two bishops had been kidnapped on the road from Baba al-Hawa to Aleppo. The SNC is an umbrella group representing Syria’s various opposition elements.
When asked by Reuters who had kidnapped the bishops, Steifo said that “all probabilities are open.”