BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt denounced Friday the seizing of a group of nuns earlier this month in Syria and called for their immediate release.
“We condemn the abduction of the nuns in Maaloula as we have denounced all kidnappings because it violates personal freedom and humane principles,” Jumblatt said in a statement.
“We also denounce the demands by the group calling itself the Qalamoun Battalion ... the methods of such groups only replicate those of the regime, tarnish the goals of the revolution,” he added.
A group calling itself the Free Qalamoun Battalion is demanding the release of 1,000 Syrian women detainees as part of a swap deal to secure the release of 12 nuns who were seized in the Christian town of Maaloula, north of Damascus.
“The nuns are in a safe place, but they will not be released until several demands have been implemented, most notably the release of 1,000 Syrian [women] held in the prisons of the Syrian regime,” the group’s spokesman, Mohannad Abu al-Fidaa, said in comments to pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat published Friday.
Jumblatt blamed the funding of armed groups by “some states and regional axes” at the expense of the “Syrian people’s political ambitions” for the case the 12 nuns.
The PSP leader called for the immediate release of the nuns and reiterated his call for the release of Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim who were kidnapped by armed men in April while en route to Aleppo from the Turkish border.