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.
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.