SYRIA: 88-year-old Greek Orthodox Christian citizen kidnapped in As-Suwayda

HASAKAH, AS-SUWAYDA, Syria – After the kidnapping of the 88-year-old Greek Orthodox Christian citizen Nazih Shehadeh in front of his house in the city of As-Suwayda in regime controlled southern Syria, the journalist Faisal al-Qasim accused a gang affiliated with the military of the Syrian Ba’ath regime of the kidnapping. Al-Qasim claim the kidnapping comes after Nazih Shehadeh’s refusal to participate in the Syrian presidential “elections” that took place on May 26.

Shehadeh appeared in a video several days after his kidnapping appealing to his family to save him as soon as possible, explaining that he had suffered two heart attacks and used 2 pills he had in his possession to survive.

According to social media and Facebook pages, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of $100,000 to release Shehadeh. His wife could not bear what happened to her husband. She died of grief shortly after her husband’s kidnapping.

The kidnapping provoked angry reactions from the people of the majority Druze city of As-Suwayda, who called to unite efforts and work together to find a solution. Locals news outlets reported that Shehadeh had returned to his home, without clarifying the details of how he was released from the kidnapping gang.

Shehadeh is reported to be one of the most important merchants of As-Suwayda and owns several stores in the city. This is the second time that he has been kidnapped. He was kidnapped in November 2020 by gangs, after which he was released under pressure from local factions in As-Suwayda, without paying a ransom.

For the article in Arabic see SyriacPress Arabic