TIME Middle East

Group Linked to Al-Qaeda Frees Nuns

Greek Orthodox nuns are released after four-month ordeal

A group of 13 Greek Orthodox nuns were freed on Monday after being kidnapped and held by Al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria for four months.

They arrived in Damascus after a deal was reached between the Syrian government and members of the group the Nusra Front, the Associated Press reports.

The nuns were taken from their convent in the predominantly Christian town of Maaloula during a bout of fighting in December. They claimed in a video released by the Nusra Front that they were well-treated. The nuns were delivered to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Old Damascus, where they will remain. Their release came in exchange for about 150 Syrian women being released by the government in Damascus.

Despite their safe release, the Syrian Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Assistant, Bishop Louca al-Khoury, accused the Nusra Front of going after Syria’s religious minorities, claiming the country is now being targeted “by armed terrorist groups who don’t understand anything but the language of killing and destruction.”


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team