» 02/27/2015, 00.00
Despite their uncertain fate, Mgr Audo denies rumours that 15 Christians have been killed
The Chaldean Archbishop of Aleppo, who contacted the vicar in Al-Hasakah, denies reports that the Islamic State group executed hostages. The Apostolic Nuncio to Damascus renews his call for caution "because it is difficult to have accurate information." The fate and number of kidnapped Christians by jihadists remain uncertain.
Aleppo (AsiaNews) - "Reports that Islamic State militias killed at
least 15 Assyrian Christian Syrians are not true," said Mgr Antoine Audo,
Chaldean Archbishop of Aleppo. His denial comes after several international
media this afternoon reported that jihadists had begun executing hostages they
held." I contacted the vicar of the Chaldeans in al-Hasakah, Fr Nidala," the prelate added. "He told me that reports about Christians being killed is not true."
Yet, many fear the hostages might end up like the 21
Egyptian Copts executed in Libya. But so far nothing has emerged to indicate that they might share the same fate. As the Apostolic
Nunciature in Damascus did a few days ago, Mgr Audo called for caution,
reiterating the need to wait and see regarding the abduction of hundreds of
Assyrians, at least 250 - 350 if other sources are to be believed - by the
Islamic State group at the start of its push into the north-eastern governorate
Contacted by AsiaNews, Apostolic
Nuncio Mgr Mario Zenari, said the same. He called on everyone "to be cautious
and careful because it is hard to have accurate information, and this could cause
unnecessary alarm. Even the numbers are not accurate, between 90 and 350, from
12 villages. We must be careful."
For his part, Pope Francis, who is involved
with members of the Roman Curia in spiritual exercises that end today, has been
praying for Syrian Christians and has been closely following developments in
the Arab country.
"This kind of solidarity is a source of great consolation, help and courage
for us Syrian Christians, in this period of crisis and difficulties," said
Georges Abou Khazen, apostolic vicar of Aleppo of the Latins.
The Chaldean Church is also getting involved in helping Assyrians. "The
Chaldean Patriarch, Raphael I Mar Luis Sako, sent money to the Assyrian bishop
as a concrete sign of his solidarity," said Mgr Audo. "This is something very
beautiful and worthy of Christian brotherhood."
Since the beginning of the uprising against Syrian
President Bashar al Assad in 2011, more than 3.2 million people have fled the
country whilst another 7.6 million are internally displaced. At least 200,000
people have been killed in the fighting, many of them civilians.
In the spring of 2013, the Islamic State group emerged out of the cauldron
of Syria's civil war, in all its violence and brutality. From that moment
onward, it pushed forward rapidly, seizing large swathes of Syrian and Iraqi
territory, where it imposed a virtual reign of terror. (DS)
IS holding more than 250 Christians, for vicar to Aleppo, pope's prayers are a source of courage
Pope Francis is closely monitoring the situation in Syria and praying for the Christian minority. For Mgr Georges Abou Khazen, the pope's closeness is a source "of great consolation and help." The road to peace "is long, but the only one possible." At least 5,000 Christians fled from the Islamists. The UN Security Council condemns the abductions.
Nuncio to Damascus: IS releases 52 abducted Christian families without a ransom payment
No money was exchanged for the hostages, who were part of a group of 250 people taken by jihadists. Some 16 people, eight Christians and eight Kurds, are still in IS hands. The hostages were seized for use as "human shields," Mgr Zenari said. Meanwhile, fighting continued yesterday in Damascus and Aleppo.
Nuncio to Syria has no news about abducted Christians, but is "confident" in a positive outcome
Mgr Zenari told AsiaNews that the Islamic State group still holds about 200 Christians. He regrets that a previous release attempt failed because of an ambush that forced the Jihadists to retreat. For the prelate, there is still enough "good will to find a solution."
02/03/2015 SYRIA - ISLAM
Islamic State group frees 19 Syrian Christians in Syria after a ransom is paid
After jihadists seized the Tal Tamr area and at least ten Christian villages, they took 220 people hostage. Judged by an "Islamic court", 19 were released after paying US$ 1,700 per person. Assyrian and Islamic tribal leaders are negotiating the release of the other hostages.
23/02/2016 17:01:00 SYRIA
Islamic State frees last group of Assyrian Christians of Hassaké
Confirmation in an official note of Acero, the Assyrian association that oversaw the negotiations for the release. Freed, for a fee, also the last 43 community members. To date there are more hostages in the hands of jihadists. In recent months three people had been executed.
Pope tells young people to remember the past, to have courage in the present and hope for the future
The Message for the 32nd World Youth Day was issued today centred on “The ‘great things’ that the Almighty accomplished’.” In her meeting with Elizabeth, Mary becomes a model. The pontiff calls on young people to avoid being couch potatoes, safe and cosy, urges them to rediscover the relationship with seniors. The Church experience is not a flash mob. The future should be experienced in a constructive way, and “the institutions of marriage, consecrated life and priestly mission” should not be devalued.
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