Syria's Ma'loula nuns freed

BEIRUT – Twelve nuns abducted in Syria since December have been freed, according to a Lebanese security source.

The nuns were handed over to Lebanese and Qatari officials on the Syrian-Lebanese borders, the source told Anadolu Agency.

Last December, a shadowy rebel group claimed responsibility for the abduction of 12 nuns from a convent in Syria`s predominantly Christian town of Ma`loula.

Earlier, the nuns had gone missing from the Mar Takla monastery after Ma`loula, which is located 56km northeast of capital Damascus, fell to opposition fighters.

The group`s spokesman had linked the release of the nuns to the release of 1,000 Syrian women held in the prisons of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

He had told pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that their demands had been conveyed to the Syrian regime through the Vatican after the head of the Mar Takla monastery, Mother Pelagia Sayyaf, had contacted the Vatican via satellite phone.

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