Syria militants publish new video of abducted nuns

Syria militants publish new video of abducted nuns
Mon Feb 10, 2014 09:33:47

Syrian nuns who were abducted by foreign-backed militants have appeared in a new video aired by the Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera.

The women are reportedly 12 nuns from a Greek Orthodox convent of Mar Takla in Maalula, located in north of capital Damascus, who were taken by gunmen in early December.

Al-Jazeera said the video it broadcasted on Sunday was recorded on February 5.

They appeared in the recording without audio, only a commentator said, "they say they are in good health, haven't been mistreated... and they are waiting for their release to return to the convent".

The report gave no indication of where the nuns were being held, but said that they were "Syrian and Lebanese" and had been "kidnapped".

They were reported missing from the town north of Damascus after rebel forces, including extremists from al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra front, seized control of Maalula in early December.

Religious officials said 12 nuns and three maids had gone missing from the convent, although one of the nuns in the video said they were 13 nuns and 3 "civilians".

Media close to the Syrian regime had accused rebels of using the nuns as human shields, and fears were expressed for their safety.

In the latest footage, the nuns "thank all those who are seeking to obtain their release and call for the release of all prisoners", Al-Jazeera reported them as saying.

It said "the kidnappers are demanding the release of women held in Syrian prisons to set the nuns free", without elaborating.

Maalula, a picturesque village cut into the cliffs some 55 kilometers (35 miles) from Damascus, has long been a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria.

Its residents are some of the few left in the world who speak Aramaic, the language Jesus Christ is believed to have spoken.


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