|Christian Solidarity Worldwide ask us that we pray for Syria, especially for the safety of two kidnapped ArchbishopsCivil war has engulfed Syria for over two years, leaving more than 100,000 dead, over four million internally displaced, and causing a mass exodus of two million to other countries.Christians can be found on both sides of the civil war, but regardless of their allegiances, they have found themselves being targeted increasingly by Sunni jihadi groups, both from within Syria and abroad.
In April, Archbishop Boulos (Paul) Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church and Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church were abducted by gunmen, who murdered their driver, who was also a priest. Recently, it was claimed by the Syrian Grand Mufti that the Archbishops were alive in Turkey. However, the Turkish Government has denied this; consequently their whereabouts remain unknown.In July, a Catholic priest was executed by Islamist forces and in August, rebel gunmen killed 11 Christians in a drive-by shooting as they celebrated a feast day.More recently, reports are emerging of 30 dead bodies being found in mass graves in the Christian city of Sadaad after forces from jihadist group al-Nusra invaded the town in October. The victims included the elderly, disabled, women and children who could not escape as these forces arrived. Many were tortured. In addition, the remains of six members of the same family, including a 90-year-old grandmother, were reportedly found in a well. The Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama, Boutros Alnemeh, has described this incident as the “most serious and biggest massacre of Christians” since the conflict began in March 2011.
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The CSW team
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