Syria rebels: snipers block nuns’ evacuation

Syria rebels: snipers block nuns’ evacuation

Fire by snipers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is blocking efforts to evacuate 12 Syrian and Lebanese Orthodox nuns from their convent in the town of Maalula, which was overrun by rebels on Monday, Al Arabiya News Channel reported Tuesday, citing rebel sources.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed on Monday that fighters from the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front had captured the historic town of Maaloula after several days of fighting.

The observatory rejected earlier reports that the nuns were kidnapped by rebels.

Vatican Radio reported, citing Mario Zenari, the nuncio (ambassador) of the Holy See in Syria, on Tuesday the rebels were able to move some of the nuns from Maaloula to Yabroud, about 20 km (13 miles) to the north.

Zenari said the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate had told him armed men had entered the monastery on Monday afternoon.

"They forced the sisters to evacuate and to follow them towards Yabroud. At this moment we cannot say if this is a kidnapping or an evacuation," he told Reuters by telephone from Damascus. "I heard now there is a very fierce conflict going on in Maaloula."

Reached by phone, the mother superior of the Saydnaya convent in Damascus province, Sivronia Nabhan, told AFP she had spoken with her Maalula counterpart, who confirmed the nuns were in Yabrud.

Maalula mother superior Pelagia Sayyaf said "she and the 11 other nuns, accompanied by three young maids, were comfortably installed in a house in Yabrud and no one was bothering them," Nabhan said.

The two nuns spoke on Monday evening, Nabhan added.

Zenari said it was unclear why the nuns had been forced to leave Maalula and "what the goal of this action is."

The nuns were first reported missing on Monday, as rebel forces recaptured Maalula, which lies north of Damascus.

They were among the few residents left in the hamlet, and were sheltering inside the Mar Takla convent.

In September, they were trapped inside the building with dozens of orphans during the first round of fighting between regime forces and rebels in the town.

But Zenari said the orphans had long been evacuated from the town.

Maalula, a picturesque village cut into the cliffs some 55 kilometers (35 miles) north of Damascus, has long been a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria.

Its residents are some of the few left in the world who speak Aramaic, the language that Jesus Christ is believed to have spoken.

Rebels briefly captured the town in September, before being quickly forced back to its outskirts by regime forces.

But with the army pressing an advance elsewhere in the surrounding Qalamoun region, opposition fighters seized the heart of the town once again on Monday.

An estimated 126,000 people have been killed in Syria since President Bashar al-Assad's regime launched a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests nearly three years ago, setting off a full-blown civil war that has displaced millions.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Azerbaijan notes decrease in banking sector' profit
Azerbaijan notes decrease in banking sector' profit
Azerbaijan sees rise in mortgage lending
Azerbaijan sees rise in mortgage lending
Azerbaijan, Armenia to sign new documents in Moscow (UPDATE)
Azerbaijan, Armenia to sign new documents in Moscow (UPDATE)
Loading Bars
Latest
Iran boosts exports through customs of Zanjan Province
Azerbaijan notes decrease in banking sector' profit
Azerbaijan sees rise in mortgage lending
Iranian currency rates for October 23
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Georgia releases data on COVID-19 cases for October 23
New customs post in Azerbaijan to speed up cargo movement along North-South corridor (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan, Armenia to sign new documents in Moscow
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Georgia sees decrease in tourist inflow from Azerbaijan
Turkmen company to purchase material, technical resources via tender
Kazakh energy company opens tender to buy metal corners
Kazakh oil company opens tender to buy spares
Kazakh KazMunayTeniz opens tender for Caterpillar equipment maintenance
Azerbaijan's Central Bank unveils data on currency exchange operations for Jan. through Sept. 2021
Azerbaijani fund presents concept for restoration of liberated territories
EDB purchases bonds of Kazakh KEGOC JSC
US corporate workers to start returning to offices next month
Iran changes pricing of petrochemical products at its mercantile exchange
Iran's foreign exchange needs trigger to expand exports
Surge of energy prices puts Europeans in stalemate (VIDEO)
Chinese company opens massive eco-friendly mine in Serbia
Kazakhstan’s daily COVID-19 case count stands at 1,732
Georgian honey exports skyrocket, following COVID-ravaged year
Iranian envoy, head of Georgia's State Security Service meet
Turkey announces commissioning date for logistics center in Sivas (Exclusive)
US military eliminates one of Al-Qaeda leaders in northwest Syria
Mutation of Delta variant may be more transmissible: UK health agency
Biden, Macron discuss cooperation, to meet in Rome late October
India, UK working on free trade agreement: Harsh Vardhan Shringla at India Global Forum
Turkey reports 28,192 daily COVID-19 cases
G7 countries reach breakthrough on digital trade and data
India perhaps only G20 country to fulfil...: India ahead of COP26 climate summit
U.N. plane aborts landing as air strike hits Ethiopia's Tigray
Relations with India stronger than ever, says Maldives Defence Minister
Chronicles of Victory: October 23, 2020
Iranian delegation leaves for Tashkent to observe elections
UK PM Johnson says fresh COVID lockdown not on the cards
2 soldiers, terrorist killed in northwestern Pakistan's clash
Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shows 90.7% efficacy in trial in children
Belarus, Kazakhstan discuss joint efforts to maintain regional security
Georgia, Turkey to set up joint air force plant
TURKIC.World project presented at media forum of Turkic Council (PHOTO)
Iran boosts transit via TRACECA corridor
French court annuls "treaty" with illegal Armenian regime in Azerbaijan's Karabakh
Azerbaijan's MoD inspects combat positions in liberated Kalbajar, Lachin districts (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan Airways opens tender related to local fire alarm system
Iran looks to enhance road development in Ardabil province
Main countries of origin for tourists arriving in Georgia
Spanish Gedepsa interested in growing olive plantations in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan reveals number of mines, munitions found on its liberated lands (PHOTO)
Overview of Uzbekistan's retail trade turnover dynamics between 2010-2020
When Karabakh road infrastructure to be fully ready?
Armenians propagate Nazi Nzhdeh and accuse Azerbaijan of racism (VIDEO)
Relations With India Stronger Than Ever, Says Maldives Defence Minister
Bennett-Putin meeting lasted five hours, was warm and positive
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,112 more COVID-19 cases, 882 recoveries
Australia says EU has postponed free trade talks for second time
Azerbaijan’s volume of non-cash payments continues to grow
Delta Galil files for Nasdaq offering
Azerbaijan's investment attractiveness increased after liberation of its lands - minister (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan reduces wheat imports from EAEU states
Azerbaijan’s wheat imports from EAEU countries revealed
Belarusian company to supply Azerbaijan with cables
Azerbaijan sees growth in its population's bank deposits
Azerbaijan commissions recently built military facilities in its liberated lands (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Non-tourist trips to Georgia plummet
Kazakh Tengizсhevroil to reduce LPG supplies to Ukraine after polypropylene plant's launch
Iran to use domestic capacity for road fleet modernization
Azercell once again bestowed with ISO 37001:2016 Anti-bribery Management Systems standard of compliance
Azerbaijan reveals data on mine clearance work carried out in liberated lands
Azerbaijan’s cargo transportation by all types of transport decreases in 9M2021
Ukrainian companies interested in entering Turkmen market
EBRD, EU to provide loans for indirect financing of green technologies in Georgia
SOCAR-AQS exceeds drilling progress plan
President Ilham Aliyev sends congratulatory letter to Hungarian counterpart
Azerbaijan to expand co-op with Turkey in mine clearance – ANAMA
Uzbekistan signs agreement to put out former uranium mining sites
Iran eyes developing non-oil exports
India hopes to work with China for resolution of issues: Shringla
Azerbaijan’s Bulla Deniz produces over 54,000 tons of oil with technical measures
UK foreign secretary begins India visit today, to hold talks with Jaishankar
Uzbekistan to expand network of local duty-free shops
Azerbaijani SME agency ready to fully support alternative energy dev't
SOCAR sums up results of operation at Oil Rocks
Turkmenistan overhauling railways on border of Akhal, Balkan regions
SOCAR reveals time of commissioning 2nd production complex at Gunahsli field
Uzbek, Russian enterprises considering joint textile enterprises
Azerbaijan to start exporting locally-produced mineral water to Europe (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan not planning to transfer all schools online - ministries
SOCAR details on works carried out at Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery in 2020
Progress on CAREC transport projects in Kazakhstan unveiled
Russia reports 37,141 COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours
Natural gas, coal prices to remain at high levels through start of 2022
FAO's representative office may be opened in Turkmenistan
Kazakhstan's main gas supplier to engage repair services via tender
Oil demand to reach its pre-pandemic level in 2022
Regional carrier SkyWest cancels 700 U.S. flights over technical woes
Georgian energy reform to create competitive market
All news