Hope in Syria: Fr. Dall’Oglio SJ, who has been a hostage for five years, may still be alive
Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio, is a Jesuit priest who was kidnapped in Raqqa in 2013. According to a recent report in The Times, there is a possibility that he is still alive and perhaps held captive with two other hostages from the West.
While no precise information about Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglio has emerged since his kidnapping in 2013, the article in The Times printed on the 7th of February gives some hope. According to the journalist of the British newspaper, the priest is still alive, interned by the Daech in East-Syria, and that some hope for his release still exists.
The report states that the remaining members of ISIS in Syria want to make a deal with the Arab-Kurds, who surround them. ISIS members see a possibility of escape from their place of refuge without being attacked, by using the release of the three hostages from the West as a bargaining chip; apparently one of the three is Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio. The Vatican has yet to confirm the information suggested in the report.
The Italian Jesuit priest spent thirty years in Mar-Moussa, Syria, working on the restoration of the monastery where he served. He was kidnapped in 2013 when he tried to arrange the acquittal of hostages in Raqqa, the stronghold of Daech. Since that time conflicting news reports about the priest have appeared.
In June of 2014, the Syrian Human Rights Association announced that he was assassinated two days after his kidnapping. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, however, insists that the priest is still alive and that ISIS is demanding a ransom for his release.
On many occasions, Pope Francis has shown his concern for the life of Fr. Dall’Oglio. In January, he received the mother and five siblings of the priest in a private audience.
In July of 2015, two years after the Jesuit’s abduction, the Pope launched an appeal in support of clergy in captivity in Syria, particularly Fr. Dall’Oglio.