Public Security Director Gen. Abbas Ibrahim told the country’s National News Agency (NNA) that no money was paid to secure the release of the nuns; it came as part of deal in exchange for 150 females that the Syrian government was holding. A convoy of around 30 vehicles picked up the captured in one part of Syria and took them into Lebanon, NNA reported Sunday. The group will be welcomed back into Syria by Greek Orthodox church officials.
Days after the kidnapping, Syrian state news agency SANA reported that armed terrorists took the nuns, implying that rebels fighting to oust al-Assad were behind the attack.
CNN noted that Christians make up about 10% of the population of Syria, but Christianity has a rich history there. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, and Maaloula, in the Qalamoun Mountains, is one of the last places where the ancient Aramaic that Jesus spoke is still the main language.
Publication Date: March 10, 2014.