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Nuns freed: 13 nuns held hostage by Al-Qaida linked rebels freed

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Greek Orthodox nuns have been freed after being held captive by an Al-Qaida linked rebel group in Syria. On March 10, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that none of the nuns were hurt when they arrived in Damascus Syria after being held captive by the group for the past four months.

"The 13 women said they were treated well by rebels and appeared so in a video of their release issued by the al-Qaida group. It showed a masked gunman carrying one elderly nun who was too weak to walk to a waiting vehicle. Activists said the release came in exchange for 150 female prisoners held by the government," reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The nuns were freed after what is being called a "rare deal" between the Syrian government and the rebels. While the nuns were not physically injured and they admitted that they were treated "well" by the rebels, many fear that this capture confirms that extremists are targeting Syrian Christians -- and others. Interestingly enough, a video of the nuns' release was uncovered and off camera you can hear the voice of a rebel who 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." This is alarming to say the least.

The freed nuns were welcomed into the Church of the Cross and surrounded by people who made them feel warm and comfortable following their frightening ordeal. They have since traveled to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Old Damascus where they will all stay according to the report.

© Effie Orfanides 2014

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