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    » 12/04/2013, 00.00

    SYRIA

    Maaloula sisters in Yabrud, Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate reports



    The nuns are said to be in good condition. At present, it remains unclear why Islamist insurgents took them or when they will be released. In the now deserted town, Islamists have started torching all Christian-owned homes.

    Damascus (AsiaNews) - For the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch "the five nuns from the Monastery of St Thecla (Maaloula) have reached Yabrud and are in good condition; however, nothing is known as yet as to why Islamist rebels took them or when they will be released."

    Islamist rebels have been holding the five nuns - not 12 as initially reported - since Monday after bursting into the monastery and forcing them to go with them to Yabrud, some 80 km north of Damascus. Now 35 sisters are left in St Thecla.

    Meanwhile, in the small town, the cradle of Syrian Christianity, Islamist rebels have started setting fire to all the houses owned by Christians.

    "No one is left in Maaloula. Those who fled are pained over these attacks. Residents are listening helplessly at reports about the destruction of their homes," said local sources, anonymous for security reasons.

    Such actions, sources note, are the result of "anti-Christian hatred by Muslim extremists" and are "unrelated to the war."

    In recent days, extremists led by fighters from the Jabat al-Nusra militia have posted graphic videos of their attacks and summary executions on social networks.

     

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    See also

    16/09/2013 SYRIA
    Maaloula refugees celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross, pray for their martyrs
    "The small town conquered by the rebels is now deserted," sources told AsiaNews. In the capital, refugees organised celebrations-Mass, Eucharistic adoration and vigils-in lieu of traditional processions and bonfires. "The event was dedicated to our martyrs and the suffering of Syria," a Maaloula Christian said.

    11/09/2013 SYRIA
    Maaloula: Christians say announcement of withdrawal by Islamic rebels is false
    A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army claim its forces evacuated the town in order to avoid bloodshed. Sources tell AsiaNews deny the report, saying terrorists are still entrenched in the town. With many residents are still holed up in their homes, Islamists are not letting anyone escape. In Damascus, hundreds of people attend the funerals of three young Catholics from Maaloula killed by Islamists.

    27/09/2013 SYRIA
    Maaloula Christians say town Muslims took part in attack
    "Christians and Muslims had always lived in an atmosphere of mutual trust; the attack on Maaloula has created a lot of distress." Islamists have invaded homes and continue to threaten the village, site of ongoing clashes between rebels and the army. The families who fled to Damascus and Beirut tell their story. The goal is to drive out Christians in order to eliminate Christianity.

    19/12/2013 SYRIA
    As negotiations for the release of the Maaloula nuns continue, Homs bishop makes an appeal
    As the nuns' fate remains unclear, the authorities and foreign diplomats continue working on their release, said Mgr Mario Zenari. Meanwhile, Boutros Selwanos Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox archbishop of Homs, slams Islamists for their "crime", noting that "The abductors want to demonstrate that they show no mercy."

    10/02/2014 SYRIA
    New video of abducted Ma'aloula nuns, calling for the release of "all detainees" in Syria
    The video was broadcast by Al Jazeera. This time the sisters do not speak and there is only a voiceover. The sisters are a bargaining chip: the rebels want the release of all detainees in Syria.



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