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Talks Ongoing to Free Seized Nuns: Syria Activists



Beirut, 14 December 2013: Two Syrian activists say that the government is negotiating with rebels to secure the release of a group of nuns seized by opposition fighters.

A spokesman for the rebel brigade al-Habib al-Moustafa said Saturday that fighters want the Syrian government to release hundreds of imprisoned female activists in exchange for the 12 captive nuns.

Spokesman Abu Nidal said he wasn't involved in negotiations, but was relaying information from other fighters.

The negotiations were also confirmed by a prominent Syrian opposition activist who requested anonymity, as he was discussing talks conducted by other parties. He said negotiations began immediately after the Greek Orthodox nuns were seized from their convent of Mar Takla north of Damascus on Dec. 6 after rebels overran the area.
There was no immediate government comment.
Pope Francis and Church leaders have appealed for the release and safety of the nuns. During his General Audience on December 4, Wednesday in St. Peter’s square, Pope Francis prayed for the abducted nuns. ‘I would now like to invite you all to pray for the nuns of the Greek-orthodox Monastery of Santa Tecla in Ma'loula, Syria, who were taken away by force by armed men two days ago’, said the Pontiff, adding ‘we pray for these sisters and for all the people affected by the ongoing conflict. We continue to pray and work together for peace.’Source: AP




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