Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon's General Directorate of General Security, has been in Doha (Qatar) for the past two days to secure the release of the Orthodox nuns held hostage by Islamist insurgents who took them from their monastery in Maaloula to Yabroud, further north.
Abbas Ibrahim is
also tasked with information gathering with regards to Boulos Yazigi and
Youhanna Ibrahim, respectively the Greek-Orthodox
and Syrian Orthodox bishops abducted near Aleppo in April about whom
nothing is known at present.
hoping that Qatari mediation can be as effective as it was two months ago, when
some Lebanese Shia pilgrims detained at Aazaz (Syria) were released thanks to
Qatari and Turkish intervention.
went to Doha with an official letter from President Michel Sleiman, in which
the Lebanese head of state asks for the emirate's good offices on these two
very sensitive issues.
security chief also made contact with Qatar-based satellite television
channel Al Jazeera to find the source
of a video
released last week in which the nuns announce their upcoming release.
The video states
that the 13 sisters were "detained" (not "abducted", the video
notes) and brought to Yabroud "to save them from the bombing." Three other
people suffered the same fate.
For now, it is
impossible to have more precise information. Telephone communications between
Beirut and Syria have been disrupted.
Meanwhile, more and
more appeals are being made for the release of the sisters in Syria and
In Damascus, the
Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna (John) X celebrated a Mass for their release
In his homily, he
called on "anyone with any connection, direct or indirect," to
intercede to obtain the group's release.
he added, "that this will happen today, not tomorrow. We urgently call on
everyone to accept the logic of dialogue and peace, not violence and weapons."
In Lebanon, the
Maronite Patriarch and other Christian associations slammed the abduction and
demanded the sisters' release.
for Energy and Water Gebran Bassil appealed to all the movements of peaceful
protest. He also called the international reaction to the kidnapping "insufficient".