08/02/2020 Syria (International Christian Concern) – The end of July marks the seven-year anniversary of when Father Paolo Dall’Oglio went missing in Syria. The Jesuit priest had worked in Syria for 30 years prior to his kidnapping, and founded a monastic community just north of Damascus.
He disappeared on July 29, 2013 after journeying to Raqqa for what many believe was an attempt at mediation which (if successful) would have freed hostages. He was never heard from since. ISIS in Syria has a long track record of targeting Christian leaders, many of whom remain missing. Many mass graves have been discovered in Syria, but identifying the remains is challenging in large part because the conflict there is ongoing.
Officially, ISIS is declared militarily defeated. However, the militants remain active in the region. The conflict in Syria creates many opportunities for ISIS and other extremists to exploit. This situation, combined with ongoing persecution and a lack of closure for Christians whose leadership was targeted, makes a religiously diverse future for Syria hard for many to imagine.