Middle East

Kidnappers move Syria nuns, contact lost: negotiator

File - This video released by al-Jazeera shows Maaloula nuns. (The Daily Star/Al-Jazeera TV)

BEIRUT: Negotiators have lost contact with a group of nuns kidnapped from a Syrian town last year after their captors moved them, a source told AFP on Thursday.

The 13 nuns and three maids were kidnapped from the famed Christian hamlet of Maaloula last year and transported to the nearby town of Yabroud, a rebel stronghold the army is fighting to recapture.

"I was in regular contact with them, but since yesterday we've lost contact," a source involved in negotiations said.

"It is very likely that they have been transferred to the region between Yabroud and the Lebanese border" nearby, the source said.

"Contacts are underway to try to ensure their safety."

The source said the kidnappers were from a group belonging to the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front led by a man called Abu Malek al-Kuwaiti.

She said they had presented negotiators with a list of demands including the release of all women held in government prisons and the withdrawal of regime forces from Christian religious sites.

The kidnappers also asked for the provision of food to residents of rebel-held areas in the region and "military demands to do with the battle of Yabroud," the source.

"Things that are difficult to achieve," the source added.

The nuns, from both Syria and Lebanon, were kidnapped from a convent in Maaloula in December, as regime and rebel forces battled for control in the surrounding Qalamun region.

They were moved to Yabroud, a rebel stronghold that has become the last opposition holdout in the Qalamun region and now at the centre of fierce regime campaign.





Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (

comments powered by Disqus



Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here