Syrian Islamists entered the St. Tecla convent in Maalula, Syria this week and took the nuns hostage. Local sources said the terrorists broke into the convent and took Mother Superior Pelagia Sayyaf and twelve other nuns hostage.
This Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows the damaged entrance of Maaloula village, northeast of the capital Damascus, Syria. Febronia Nabhan, Mother Superior at Saidnaya Convent, said Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 that 12 nuns in the predominantly Christian village of Maaloula have been abducted by opposition fighters and taken to a rebel-held town. (AP Photo/SANA, File)
** Today Pope Francis prayed for the kidnapped nuns.
The pro-regime Al-Watan news service reported the Islamists want to use the kidnapped nuns as human shields.
NOW Media reported:
Syrian rebels want to use nuns “kidnapped” from their Maalula convent north of Damascus as “human shields,” pro-regime daily Al-Watan said Wednesday.
Rebels took a dozen Syrian and Lebanese nuns from Maalula to a nearby area under rebel control after capturing the historic Christian town late Monday, but it was not immediately clear whether the nuns had been kidnapped or moved for their own safety.
“Syrian army forces have started arriving in the Maalula area to restore security, after hundreds of rebels sowed chaos in the city, which they entered through the mountains, and kidnapped 12 Syrian and Lebanese nuns to take them to Yabrud,” a rebel town northeast of Maalula, said Al-Watan.
“The terrorists want to use them as human shields,” it added.
Yabrud is the loyalist army’s next target in Qalamoun, a mountainous region north of Damascus that is strategic because of its proximity to smuggling routes across the Lebanese border and a key road linking the capital to central Homs province.