ALEPPO, Syria—The St. Kevork Armenian Church of the Nor Kyugh (Meidan) neighborhood of Aleppo was set on fire on Oct. 29. The interior of the church, including religious vestments, liturgical items, and icons, suffered serious damage, Aleppo’s Armenian Prelacy spokesperson Jirair Reisian told the Lebanese-Armenian newspaper Aztag.
Reisian reported that the adjacent Mesrobian School, with its kindergarten and elementary school, also suffered from the fire.
“We strongly condemn this barbaric and criminal act. We are convinced and we believe that God, at least, will not let these inhumane crimes and desecration—against Aleppo’s historic Great Mosque, other places of worship, and today, the St. Kevork Church—go unpunished,” said Reisian.
On the same day, 10 passengers on a bus traveling from Beirut to Aleppo, among them seven Armenians, were kidnapped.
Reisian confirmed that some of the kidnapped are still unknown, and that community leaders are working on securing their safe return to Aleppo. There are rumors that among those abducted were a Kurd and an Assyrian.
Different reports have put the number of abducted between 10 and 12, with some claiming that 2 of the passengers were Syrian Christians, 2 were Kurds, and the remaining Armenian.
Reisian denied that the kidnappers have demanded a ransom.
According to other reports, the kidnappers have demanded that the government release 150 prisoners within 3 days in exchange for the kidnapped. If it does not, they have threatened to kill the 10 kidnapped men. The Armenian Weekly could not independently confirm these reports.