Article in English courtesy of Notes on Arab Orthodoxy original article in Arabic from Annahar newspaper Lebanon
Church Sources to an-Nahar: For Jabhat al-Nusra, Everything and Everyone in Maaloula is Fair Game
Church sources in Damascus have indicated to an-Nahar that the nuns of the Monastery of Maaloula were kidnapped by Jabhat al-Nusra, which includes armed groups from Chechnya and various Arab
nationalities. Sources stated that the number of kidnapping victims is rising, since it now includes the nuns of Maaloula, in addition to the
metropolitans of Aleppo, Boulos Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim, and two priests.
The sources said, "The Monastery of Maaloula is mostly made up of Syrian nuns, while a few of them are Lebanese." They stated that "The Monastery of Saint Thekla has been subject to vandalism and desecration: icons and statues there were attacked and the monastery's paten, given by the Russian [Imperial Palestinian Orthodox] Society was vilely desecrated." This confirms information provided by the Vatican yesterday about the kidnapping of 12 Orthodox nuns from the monastery by Jabhat al-Nusra. Sources stressed that "al-Nusra has declared everything in Maaloula to be fair game.
As for the fate of the orphans who live with the monastery's nuns in its orphanage, sources mentioned that the army of the Syrian regime, during its initial withdrawal from Maaloula, was careful to evacuate the orphanage and provide safety to those in it. Under intense fire from snipers and anti-tank rockets, a military truck transported the orphans-- 6 boys and 15 girls-- to Damascus.
Original article in Arabic here
An eyewitness who left Maaloula said to an-Nahar that "Elements of the opposition started attacking Maaloula Saturday night by rolling large truck tires filled with explosives down the hill from the Hotel Safir toward the Old City of Maaloula. This caused serious damage to homes and to the monasteries and forced the Army to withdraw to outside the city. This also led to the withdrawal of some of the men who were still in the city, so no one was left but the nuns." The witness added, "Opposition fighters went up on roofs to shell the Syria Army, but the latter did not return fire out of fear of destroying the monasteries and bearing responsibility for that." From an article in Annahar
See also: Western backed rebels attack Maaloula