RELIGION

Kidnapped Syrian Bishops Still Alive, Metropolitans Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulous Yazigi Have Been Seen According To New 'Reliable Reports'

(FILES) -- A combo of file pictures shows Syrian Bishop Boulos Yaziji (L), head of the Greek Orthodox church in Aleppo, taken
(FILES) -- A combo of file pictures shows Syrian Bishop Boulos Yaziji (L), head of the Greek Orthodox church in Aleppo, taken on February 10, 2013 in Damascus, and a handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on April 23, 2013, of Bishop Yuhanna Ibrahim (R), head of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Aleppo, on December 25, 2012. An association of Middle Eastern Christians said on April 23, 2013, that the two Orthodox bishops, Bishop Yuhanna and Bishop Boulos, who were reportedly kidnapped by rebels in northern Syria on April 22, 2013, have been released, in a statement citing Syrian sources. AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA and AFP PHOTO/SANA/HO == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / HO / SANA' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS == (Photo credit should read LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Metropolitan Boulous Yazigi, two Syrian bishops who were kidnapped by an unknown group on April 22, 2013, are still alive, according to new information obtained by Al-Monitor.

Authorities in Beirut have received "reliable reports" that the two bishops are still alive via Turkish governmental and intelligence agencies, reports Al-Monitor. For the past few weeks there has been some confusion about the fate of both religious leaders, as intelligence reports confused one bishop with an aide who was killed by the abductors, and surveillance implied that only one bishop was left.

However, more recent surveillance has shown that both bishops have been taking short daily walks again. The abductors seem to be the same group who originally kidnapped the bishops, thought to be an extremist Sunni group with links to Chechen militants currently operating in Syria.

The bishops have now been missing for over 150 days.

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