Kidnappers Free 13 Nuns in Syria

Three workers and 13 nuns who had been kidnapped last November from a monastery in Syria were freed on Sunday, said a government pro Syrian news network.

A 30-vehicle convoy picked the nuns and workers up in Syria and drove them to Lebanon, said an official news agency in that country.

The convoy started in Lebanon traveled to its border with Syria and into Jdaidet Yabous, a village in the hills. It was there the group was met by officials from the Greek Orthodox Church, who will welcome the nuns back into Syria.

For a number of hours, the convoy was delayed for only logistical reasons, but resumed later en route to its final destination.

When the nuns finally arrived, some were smiling others solemn and at least one appeared to need help. They were mobbed by a crowd that included the officials from the church.

Officials said no money was given as a ransom to secure the nuns’ release. The officials said the release was part of a deal where 150 women that were being held by the government of Syria were released in exchange for the nuns.

Saadeh Kobeisi, the intelligence chief from Qatar is reported to have crossed deep into Syria to gain the release of the nuns.

A figure from the Greek Orthodox Church, who often times speaks on behalf of Bashar al-Assad the President of Syria added that the recent troop offensive by the Syrian army on the stronghold of the opposition in Yabroud worked in favor of the release of the nuns.

In the days following the kidnapping, a news agency reported that the nuns had been taken by armed terrorists, implying the rebels who ousted al-Assad had been behind the kidnapping.

An opposition group’s chief, who is based in England, said he confirmed that the al-Nursa Front had abducted the 13 nuns. However, Rami Abdurrahman said the al-Nursa did that to protect them from what they said was an impending attack from the government forces of Syria.

The State Department in the U.S. designated the al-Nursa Front as a terrorist group that has ties to al-Qaeda.

In Syria, Christians form just 10% of the overall population, but Christianity’s history is long and rich there.

In the River Jordan Jesus was baptized and some believe that it was a location where modern-day Syria is located today.

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