Foreign Minister Bob Carr condemned the reported kidnappings of the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, Metropolitan Paul Yazigi, while conducting humanitarian relief work near Syria's second-largest city.
Reports from Syria indicate Archbishops Ibrahim and Yazigi were abducted by gunmen in the village of Kafr, 30 km north of Aleppo, on Sunday April 21. The Archbishop's driver, a church deacon, is reported to have been killed in the attack.
"The Australian Government condemns this violent assault on the leadership of the Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox faiths," Senator Carr said.
"We call for their immediate release and safe passage back to Aleppo.
"The Government has also conveyed its deep concern and solidarity to the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Antiochan Church, via our Embassy to the Holy See."
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