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Greek-Orthodox nuns released from Syrian militants

Thirteen Greek Orthodox nuns released
Thirteen Greek Orthodox nuns released
Thirteen Greek Orthodox nuns released

Today in a rare exchange, interceded by Qatari and Lebanese officials, thirteen Greek-Orthodox nuns were released from the capture of al-Qaida-linked rebels.

The nuns who surprisingly bid their captors a friendly farewell were held captive for three months but claim they were not treated badly.

An off-camera rebel voice told the nuns that God will reward them for their suffering. "May God reward every person who sought to resolve this problem," replied one nun.

As the women reach the car, the unseen rebel says, "I was so happy to be in communication with you and I hope that we can stay in communication, if God decides that. Please say hello to your families for me, and I hope you arrive safely."

It was a dramatic scene of the nuns being freed from vehicles in the dead of night along the Lebanese-Syrian border.

"Of course we are relieved by the reports that the nuns have been released. We continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those who remain unjustly detained in Syria," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington.

The nuns were released for the exchange of women held in government prisons. They arrived early in Damascus.