Obama backed “rebels” make demands for release of nuns

Dec 6th, 2013 | By | Category: Weekly Washington Updates
[color-box]The Daily Star in Lebanon is reporting that a group with ties to al-Qaeda are making demands on the Syrian government through the Vatican for the release of nuns and orphans they have abducted. As the “rebels” are supplied and salaries paid for by the Saudi Arabia and the United States an order from President Barack Obama to release the nuns and orphans is really all that is required. – Editor[/color-box]

DAILY STAR BEIRUT: A group calling itself the Free Qalamoun Battalion is demanding the release of 1,000 Syrian women detainees as part of a swap deal to secure the release of 12 nuns seized earlier this month from a convent in Syria.

“The nuns are in a safe place, but they will not be released until several demands have been implemented, most notably the release of 1,000 Syrian [women] held in the prisons of the Syrian regime,” the group’s spokesman, Mohannad Abu al-Fidaa, said in comments to pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat published Friday.

Fidaa said the group’s demands were conveyed to the Syrian regime through the Vatican after establishing contact between the head of the Mar Takla monastery, Mother Pelagia Sayyaf, and the Vatican by a satellite-operated phone.

SYRIA-CONFLICT-CHRISTIANSHe said the demands were made jointly by the Free Qalamoun Brigades and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.

The nuns along, with several orphans, were feared kidnapped on Monday after Syrian rebels, including fighters from the Nusra Front, recaptured the Christian town of Maaloula, located north of Damascus, from Assad’s forces after three days of heavy clashes.

It could not be confirmed whether the nuns had been abducted or evacuated for their own safety. It was also not immediately clear whether orphans whom the nuns looked after were taken from the convent.

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Fidaa said the Vatican had pleaded with his group to move the nuns, who are being kept at an underground shelter, from Maaloula to the house of a Christian citizen in Yabroud.

“But their request was rejected until our demands are met,” he said.

Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati phoned Friday Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X Yazigi and expressed his solidarity with the case of the nuns and expressed hope that the ongoing contacts would secure their release and that of the bishops abducted earlier this year.

“[I] reject such heinous crimes that are not related to Islam or any spiritual values … these nuns devoted their lives to serve the orphans, the needy and the poor and they should be kept at a distance from political disputes,” Mikati told Yazigi, according to a statement from Mikati’s office.

He also said that religious sites particularly historic ones should be protected from military operations.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Dec-06/240106-group-claims-kidnapping-of-nuns-in-syria-report.ashx#ixzz2mho467Ti
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)


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