MOSCOW, March 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow lauds the release of Syrian nuns from the Holy Thecla monastery in Maaloula that were kidnapped by militants, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Tuesday.
In December 2013, 13 orthodox nuns and three assistants were kidnapped by militants of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group and brought to the city of Yabrud in the region of Qalamun near the Lebanon border, which was controlled by Syrian anti-government forces. “When governmental forces almost tightened the assault around Yabrud, the militants accepted the exchange proposal passed through a mediator. Under the proposal, Syrian authorities set free a group of women that were earlier arrested on accusations of complicity in armed opposition’s activities. This exchange took place March 9-10,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“Moscow lauds the release of orthodox nuns, which we constantly advocated at different levels,” the diplomatic service stressed. “We pay tribute to the humane decision taken by the Syrian leadership, as well as to the effective role played by Lebanon and Qatar special services in this affair.”