Updated: June 12, 2014 08:30 PM GMT
Italian Jesuit priest Paolo Dall'Oglio is alive, according to a Syrian-Iranian source in Lebanon which claims an ''Italian delegation'' met with him. The report on Wednesday, one of many contradictory claims on the priest's fate made over the past few months, was published by Lebanese daily al Akhbar, a mouthpiece of the pro-Iranian Shiite movement Hezbollah which says it is fighting al Qaeda in Syria alongside the troops of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.The priest disappeared from northern Syria almost a year ago.After being ''re-elected'' a few days ago, Assad has presented himself more than ever as the most trustworthy protector of Christians in the Middle East and as the best solution against al Qaeda which is gaining ground across a wide area from Mesopotamia to the Orontes. The Beirut daily, which did not quote any source, said that a month ago an ''Italian delegation met'' the priest together with his abductors and spoke with him for about two hours.
Hezbollah's newspaper states, as if suggesting a possible solution, that the ''Italian delegation'' discussed various options with the abductors, including the possibility of releasing the Syrian bishops as part of the agreement.
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