The kidnapped nuns from Maaloua have appeared in a new video on the Qatari owned and run sectarian news channel Al Jazeera (Arabic).
News report from the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star
DOHA: A group of nuns from the historic Christian-majority town of Maalula in Syria appeared in a new video broadcast by the Qatar-based satellite news channel Al-Jazeera on Sunday.
The women are reportedly 12 nuns from a Greek Orthodox convent of Mar Takla in Maalula who were taken by gunmen in early December. Al-Jazeera said the video it broadcast on Sunday was recorded on February 5.
They appeared in the recording without audio, but 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".
On December 6, the station broadcast a short video of the nuns in which they denied they had been kidnapped.
They were reported missing from the town north of Damascus after rebel forces, including jihadists, 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 kilometres (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. Original here
In a statement posed by Al-Nusra Front (Jhabat al-Nushra) the armed opposition group presented the conditions for the release of the kidnapped Syrian and Lebanese Nuns the lay women abducted with them and also for the release of the two kidnapped Archbishops of Aleppo.
For the release of the nuns:
1 - the release of all the extremists prisoners in Roumieh prison Lebanon.
2 - the release of the 500 members of Al-Qaeda arrested by the Syrian government.
3 - the release of all female opposition prisoners in Syria.
4 - the payment of $ 75 million as ransom.
5 - lift the siege on the old city of Homs.
6 - the Syrian army should no longer attack Yabrood, "a city close to the Lebanese border, where armed opposition crossover to fight against the regime in Syria."
7 - Sending the abducted nuns to Lebanon not back Syria.
For the release of the Bishops:
1 - Paying $ 100 million as ransom.
2 - the release of 800 al-Qaida members arrested by the Syrian government.
3 - the release of the Turkish officers, Qatari and French arrested in Syria.
4 - Sending aid to the armed opposition in the old city of Homs.
5 - Stop all military operations in Aleppo.
Information provided by the Italian website dell’ Associazione Nazionale dei Papaboys
The convent is one of the worlds oldest and is said to hold the remains of St. Tekla a pupil of St Paul and was once a place of pilgrimage for Muslim and Christian alike.
A night view of the Convent of St. Tekla in the town of Maaloula, this beautiful photo was taken in 2008. Maaloula ia a UNESCO world heritage site. Click to enlarge.
The exterior of St. Teckla Convent before and after it was looted and burned by terrorist rebels.
Above the convent Church of St. Tekla as seen in March 2012 and after terrorists have desecrated and ransacked the building in December 2013. The 2012 image shows Rev. Mother Pelagia Sayaf supervising the Orphans of the convent as they pray in Aramaic, the language of Christ.
The terrorists who control Maaloula removed a bronze statue of Christ from the courtyard of St Tekla convent. In the lower image can be seen a "journalist," who accompanied the rebels posing for a photo in the courtyard while the broze sculpture was still in place.
This Catholic monastery which dates from the fourth or fifth century was one of the world’s oldest working monasteries and a place of pilgrimage for Muslim and Christian alike.
The Melkite Catholic Monastery of Sts Sergius and Bacchus before and after it was attacked by terrorist rebels. The crosses were removed from the dome and bell tower and the interior looted and destroyed.
The church of Melkite Catholic Monastery of Sts Sergius and Bacchus before and after it was destroyed by terrorist rebels.