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Rome Reports

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Siblings of kidnapped Fr. Dall'Oglio in Syria: Our hope to find him is still alive


It's been six years since Italian Jesuit Paolo Dall'Oglio disappeared. The last time anyone heard about him, he was about to enter Raqqa, the city that soon became the Syrian capital of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. He had wanted to mediate the release of several hostages, including two Syrian bishops.

GIOVANNI DALL'OGLIO
Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio's Brother
“You can think that he risked it and did things he should not do, but Paolo did what he had to do. He had to try to release them, to become an instrument of communication, a bridge.”

IMMACOLATA DALL'OGLIO
Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio's Sister
"Surely Paolo would have liked to appeal to everyone so this sad page of international history, which is the war in Syria, can be closed and finished."

These are kidnapped Jesuit's siblings. They remembered him in Rome during this press conference. They say the silence surrounding Paolo does not mean he is dead. Quite the contrary, they hope he is alive, although they claim they lack more information than they have.

IMMACOLATA DALL'OGLIO
Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio's Sister
“Hope is alive, because we are full of hope, even considering what may have happened to him. Going beyond hope, we need information and justice. “Many times anything can happen, anything, but Paolo's fate is no longer up to us. It depends on Another, with a capital A.”

Throughout this bitter wait, they have been supported and received letters by many people. The friends and anonymous writers expressed their affection for Fr. Dall'Oglio and recognize his work in establishing ties of fraternity with Islam.

The siblings especially remember his encounters with Pope Francis. The most recent was also attended by the priest's elderly mother, before the pope's trip to Abu Dhabi.

FRANCESCA DALL'OGLIO
Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio's Sister
"Listening to the Holy Father and being able to see him is an enormous gift and blessing because there are many people who would like to be this close."

Raqqa, the Syrian city where Paolo Dall'Oglio was kidnapped, was released from the Islamic State in 2017. However, the situation there is still very unstable and it has not yet been possible to gather information about the whereabouts of the jihadist hostages.