World Bulletin/News Desk
Two Syrian bishops kidnapped by gunmen on Monday are still missing, church sources in Damascus and Aleppo said on Wednesday, contradicting a report that the men had been freed.
A source at the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo said the bishops had not been released and he was unaware of any contact with their abductors. At the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus, a source also said there was no indication they had been freed.
A report earlier indicated that a church official had stated that kidnappers had freed the two Syrian bishops on Tuesday.
Greek Orthodox archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were seized near the northern commercial and industrial hub of Aleppo, which is contested by rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Bishop Tony Yazigi, a relative of one of the kidnapped bishops, did not say who was behind the kidnapping of Greek Orthodox archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim.
Syrian authorities blamed the abduction on a "terrorist group", the label they usually give to anti-Assad rebels, but opposition fighters in the province denied they had kidnapped the two and said they were working for their release and trying to find out who had taken them.
The bishops were the most senior church figures caught up in the fight between Assad's forces and rebels trying to end four decades of family rule by Assad and his late father.
The conflict has killed more than 70,000 people.Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2013, 11:59