Kidnapped in Syria

Debris seen inside damaged church in Syria.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been unable to confirm the number of its members abducted in Syria, nor where they are being held. The society announced on its website on March 4 that “several colleagues,” along with “women and children,” were kidnapped in the province of Hassakeh in northeastern Syria on Feb. 28 and March 1. “We’re waiting for news,” said Helene Afriat, communications officer for the International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris on March 13. “The surrounding villages have been evacuated, the people have fled, communication is very difficult and we have not been able to establish contact with our volunteers and correspondents working locally,” Afriat said. “The people who reported these recent kidnappings were unable to give us more precise details.” She said it is likely that those abducted—all local Christians—might not have made their society membership known, so as not to “aggravate their already dramatic situation.”

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