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    » 12/03/2013, 00.00

    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 ."

    Damascus (AsiaNews) - The fate of the 12 Orthodox nuns of the monastery of Santa Tecla in Maaloula , seized yesterday afternoon by a group of Islamist insurgents is still uncertain says Mgr . Mario Zenari , Apostolic Nuncio to Damascus speaking to AsiaNews.  "We have no other news - says the Vatican representative in Syria - since last night. We can confirm that the nuns were forced to leave the monastery and follow these armed people."

    The 12 nuns of the monastery of St. Thecla were abducted yesterday afternoon . According to latest reports , the nuns were being marched by a contingent of Islamist rebels towards Yabrud , about 80 km north of the capital.

    For two days Maaloula has been the scene of violent clashes between the army and rebels of the Free Syrian Army ( FSA) , in whose ranks many members of the al - Qaeda linked extremist Jabat - al- Nousra militia are fighting. Archbishop Zenari points out that "the whole area is in tumult". The attacks occur mainly in the upper part of the city - the oldest - where the monasteries of St. Thecla and the Greek - Catholic Saints Sergius and Bacchus are located. On 5 September the village was invaded by the rebels, who defeated government troops.

    Meanwhile, Navi Pillay , UN High Commissioner for Human Rights , said yesterday that the war crimes committed in Syria were also authorized by the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Citing an inquiry conducted by the United Nations, Pillai said that " there is ample evidence of very serious crimes . Crimes of war, crimes against humanity . [...] The brutality of the abuses perpetrated by elements on both sides defies imagination. Responsibility lies with the highest levels of government, including the head of state . "

     

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    See also

    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 .

    23/04/2013 SYRIA
    Two Orthodox Bishops abducted by an armed group on the road to Aleppo
    They are the Syriac Orthodox bishop of Aleppo, Msgr. Youhanna Ibrahim, and the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo and Iskenderun, Msgr. Boulos al-Yaziji. Their driver was killed on the outskirts of the city. State television accuses "terrorist groups", but the identity of the kidnappers is not clear. Some time ago, Msgr. Ibrahim had dennounced kidnappings and violence against Christians.

    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.

    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.

    05/12/2013 SYRIA
    Greek orthodox patriarch Youhanna X Yazigi appeals to "conscience" of nun’s kidnappers
    "We appeal to the international community and to the rulers of the whole world to intervene for the release of the hostages. This abduction , which continues despite all the contacts made, is a flagrant violation of human dignity and path of peace and prayer”. Maronite bishops join call for the liberation of women religious .



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