Syrian Islamists entered the St. Tecla convent in Maalula, Syria in December and took twelve 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)
The kidnapped nuns were seen in a video released in February.
They were stripped of their crosses.
Today the nuns were reportedly released and on their way back to Syria.
Thirteen nuns and three workers kidnapped in late November from a Greek Orthodox monastery in Syria were freed Sunday, a pro-Syrian government news network and Lebanese state media reported.
A convoy of around 30 vehicles picked up the nuns and workers in one part of Syria and took them into Lebanon, the country’s National News Agency reported late Sunday. The convoy will travel through Lebanon to another border crossing to Syria, Jdaidet Yabous, where the group will be met by Greek Orthodox church officials, who will welcome them back into Syria, Syrian state news agency SANA reported.
Qatari intelligence chief Saadeh Kobeisi reportedly crossed deep into Syrian territory to obtain the release of the Syrian nuns. He crossed into Syria as part of a Lebanese Internal Security delegation, the state news agency said.
Senior Orthodox Bishop Lucas al-Khoury earlier Sunday spoke to pro-Syrian government Ikhbariya television. He stood on the Syrian side of the border hoping to greet the nuns and said the negotiations for their release took several months because the kidnappers “made false requests intended to stall the process.”