BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:20 P.M.) – A new investigative report released on January 15th by Agenzia Fides revealed that the two Syrian bishops kidnapped by the militants in Aleppo were killed, ending nearly seven years of speculation.

According to the report, bishops Boulos Yazigi, Antiochian Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo and Alexandretta and brother of Orthodox Patriarch John X, and Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo were kidnapped by the militants on April 22, 2013.

The whereabouts of these two bishops were unknown following their kidnappings, with some speculating they were either sold to Da’esh in Al-Raqqa or executing by the militants.

However, based on a new investigative report by Mansur Salib, a Syrian researcher in the United States, the two hierarchs were killed in December 2016.

Salib’s investigation found that bishops Boulos and Gregorios were killed by the once U.S.-backed Harakat Noureddine Al-Zinki group, the same rebel forces that executed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy in the Aleppo Governorate in 2016.

“The investigation traces the story, focusing on details considered useful to reconstruct its dynamics. According to the authors, on April 22, 2013 the two Archbishops had left Aleppo aboard a Toyota pick-up truck, driven by Fatha’ Allah Kabboud, with the intention of going to deal with the release of two priests, Armenian Catholic Michael Kayyal and Greek Orthodox Maher Mahfouz, previously kidnapped by anti-Assad jihadist groups who then controlled the territories east of the Syrian metropolis. Mar Gregorios and Boulos Yazigi, dressed in civilian clothes, fell into what the reconstruction presents as a real trap. The car in which the two metropolitans of Aleppo were traveling was blocked by the group of kidnappers, and the driver Fatha’ Allah Kabboud, a Latin-rite Catholic, father of three children, was shot dead in the head. The kidnapping was not claimed by any group,” the Agenzia Fides report said.

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The report concluded that the militant group executed the bishops before the Syrian Army recaptured the eastern part of Aleppo city from the jihadist rebels in 2016.

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