From the Associated Press:
The mother superior of a Syrian convent says 12 nuns have been abducted by opposition fighters and taken to a rebel-held town.
Febronia Nabhan, Mother Superior at Saidnaya Convent, said Tuesday that the nuns and three other women were taken the day before from another convent in the predominantly Christian village of Maaloula to the nearby town of Yabroud.
Syrian rebels captured large parts of Maaloula, some 40 miles northeast of the capital, on Monday after three days of fighting.
Nabhan told the Associated Press that the Maaloula convent’s mother superior, Pelagia Sayaf, called her later that day and said they were all “fine and safe.”
The state news agency SANA had reported Monday that six nuns, including Sayaf, were trapped in a convent in Maaloula.
Syria’s Minister of Social Affairs, Kindah al-Shammat, demanded that countries supporting the rebels pressure them to release the nuns.
Many of the some 3,000 residents have already fled to Damascus, fearing rebels would punish them for supporting Assad and because they are Christians, one of the villagers said in a telephone interview. He spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for his safety. Others have taken shelter in the convent.
While two bishops and a priest have been kidnapped by rebels, no nuns have been reported harmed in the three-year conflict, which began as a popular uprising against Assad but quickly morphed into a civil war.
Pray for all concerned.