A Beirut-Aleppo bound bus was stopped on Monday by armed masked men who stormed the bus and after letting women and children free kidnapped 11 people, seven of whom Armenians, sources in Aleppo reported.
The bus, part of the regular service operated by “Zeitoun Tours” left Beirut for Aleppo at 7:30 a.m. Just before 6 p.m. in Sarakeb, Syria, half hour away from Aleppo, the masked men stormed the bus kidnapping the 11. Aside from the seven Armenians, two are Arab Christians and another two Kurds, who were moved to a van that drove away from the site of the incident.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry released the name of five of the kidnapped. The Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tigran Balayan released the following names: Garo Bambelian, Arsen Aroian, Levon Zeitunian, as well as Bashar and George Rabat.
Aleppo Prelacy spokesperson Jirayr Reyisian stated that a sixth passenger named Koko, whose last name has not been confirmed yet, is also among the victims of this attack.
Reyisian denied reports that individuals have been contacted about a possible ransom.
This incident occurred on the same day as the St. Kevork Armenian Church located in the Nor Kyugh neighborhood of Aleppo was set ablaze.
“The inside of the church, including offices and artifacts have been badly burned,” said spokesman of the Syrian Prelacy Reyisian, who spoke by telephone with the Beirut-based Aztag newspaper.
“The recently closed Mesrobian Armenian school, which is adjacent to the church, including its kindergarten and elementary school buildings have been severely damaged,” added Reyisian.
“In light of this barbaric act, we condemn this criminal act with the conviction and belief that those responsible for these inhumane acts against placed of worship, starting with the historic Mosque to other places of prayer and now the St. Kevork Church, will be punished,” added Reyisian