“When I am asked where these people are, I reply: ask Turkish security authorities,” the mufti told a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.
He said he met a former U.S. Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, in Damascus a few weeks ago, who told him that when one of the abducted metropolitans had fallen ill, he was treated in Ankara and then returned to his abductors.
“Ask the Turkish government, this issue (the metropolitans’ release) is dependent on it,” Hassoun said.
He claimed earlier that Turkish secret services were involved in the abduction of these two hierarchs, possibly because of Turkish claims to have the Antiochene See moved from Syria to Turkey and thereby try to put pressure on the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.
In April 2013 militants of the armed Syrian opposition captured near Aleppo the Patriarch of Antioch John X’s brother Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo and the Syro-Jacobite Metropolitan of Aleppo John-Ibrahim. Their driver, a deacon, was killed. Both were tackling humanitarian problems of the population of the village of Kafr Dael near the Syrian-Turkish border.