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  • » 02/10/2014, 00.00

    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.

    Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies ) - A new video showing the religious sisters kidnapped from the Christian town of Ma'aloula 55 km north of Damascus, was released yesterday afternoon by Qatar based Al Jazeera television.

    The nuns were abducted December 2 from the Greek - orthodox monastery of St. Thecla , and so far all that was known was that they had been transported to Yabroud, in the north, by a group of rebels.

    In the video, the sisters do not speak, but a voiceover says: "They say they are in good health, have not been abused and are waiting to be released to return to their convent". Nothing is said about where they are being held but they are described as having been "kidnapped" and that the sisters are both "Syrian and Lebanese".

    In a video also released by the Qatari television on December 6, the sisters said they had not been kidnapped, but carried from Maaloula to escape the bombing in order to ensure their safety and that they would return in a couple of days.

    At the time Syrian media had accused the rebels of using the nuns as human shields, and now it is evident that instead they will use them as a bargaining chip.

    In the last sequence of yesterday's video the voiceover says that "the sisters would like to thank everyone who trying to obtain their release and demand the release of all detainees".

    Their abduction was claimed by the Islamist brigades of al- Ahrar Qalamoun who demanded the release of "a thousand women detained in Syrian prisons of the Syrian regime" in exchange for the release of the sisters.

    Pope Francis and Orthodox bishops have appealed for the nuns' release. Lebanese authorities and the Emir of Qatar has also tried in vain to secure their liberation.

    Maaloula, Christian majority town, is famous for being one of the few remaining places where locals still speak the ancient Aramaic, the language of Jesus' time.  However in the past few months it has been the scene of a long battle between the army and rebels. The city was invaded several times by Islamist insurgents who have desecrated churches and monasteries, and killed several Christians.

     

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    See also

    11/12/2013 SYRIA
    Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate: " No news of the 13 Ma'aloula nuns, we do not trust the video"
    According to video released by Al-Jazeera the women religious held in Yabrud were to be released on December 9. The Greek -Orthodox Patriarchate "concerned" about their condition. Ongoing intense fighting in the area between the army and Islamist insurgents. Two Spanish journalists in Syria to a report on the anti- Assad revolution held captive by Islamic extremists.

    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.

    03/12/2013 SYRIA
    Nuncio in Damascus: Fate of Orthodox nuns kidnapped by Islamists still uncertain
    Msgr . Zenari tells AsiaNews: "There are no reports of the religious of St. Thecla in Maaloula , in the continuing clashes between the army and rebels ." Navi Pillay , UN High Commissioner for Human Rights : "Assad also guilty of war crimes ."

    07/12/2013 SYRIA
    Ma'aloula nuns in video: We're fine, we will be released in two days
    Al Jazeera broadcasts video in which the religious sisters claim to be "protected" for " their safety." Shortly before, the al- Ahrar Brigades Qalamoun , the opposition claimed the kidnapping and demanded the release of thousands of Syrian women in prisons Assad . Watch the video .

    04/12/2013 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.



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