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News : Kidnapped priest released in Syria

A Jesuit priest who was abducted in Syria earlier this year is said to have been freed.

Father Jacques Mourad was taken back in May with local Christians fearing Islamic extremists had captured him.

While reasons for his release are unknown, a source told AFP that he said Mass yesterday for the first time since he was taken.

Fr Jacques has been ministering to Qaryatayn’s Syriac Catholic community for the past 12 years.

While over 2,000 Christians lived in the town before the war, none remain with Islamic State taking control of the region.

Speaking at the time of his abduction, his colleague Fr Nawras Sammour told charity Aid to the Church in Need: “We priests are fully aware of the risks we run, but we cannot do otherwise than remain alongside the Syrian people, both Christians and Muslims.

“In many cases we are the only ones they have to turn to.

“When I asked him if he was intending to leave, he told me that he would do so only if forced – otherwise he would remain with his people.”

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