On January 8, Orthotimes.news published an English translation of an investigation by a group of journalists led by Mansur Salib on the two bishops – Paul Yazigi, a Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, and John Ibrahim, a Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, who were kidnapped in 2013. According to the journalists, both Metropolitans were killed in 2016 by the Nour Al-Din Al-Zenki group. The report was published by media outlets around the world and on January 20 the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East made an official statement and claimed that it can neither confirm nor deny the validity of such reports. Orthotimes publishes the full text::
A Statement Regarding Recent Reports on the Two Missing Archbishops of Aleppo
Over the past couple of months, many worrying reports and claims regarding the case and fate of the two Archbishops Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim who were kidnapped on April 22, 2013 in the western countryside of Aleppo – Syria, went viral in media outlets.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, have been closely monitoring these reports that are totally independent from our relentless efforts and endeavors in the search for our two missing Archbishops and we are determined to leave no stone unturned until we identify their whereabouts and their fate.
In that respect, we neither confirm nor deny the validity of these reports, or the different other claims we have been receiving from various sources on a daily basis.
While we extend our sincere gratitude to all individuals and entities who are concerned about the fate of our Archbishops and especially those who are undertaking initiatives to help shed the light on their ordeal, we ask all to pray for the two Archbishops and invite all those who can help our official endeavors in bringing this humanitarian case to an end to contact the churches through the official, designated channels.
20 January 2020