The video that was broadcasted by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel, shows the Greek nuns safe and healthy. They said that the rebels escorted them out of Maaloula to keep them safe from the shelling.
“The brothers are treating us well and have brought us from the convent here and we are very happy,” said one of them. Although the video appears authentic it is difficult to identify if the nuns had been forced to speak.
Pope Francis has called the christian community to pray for the nuns. The Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Gregorios III Laham, commented on the video, thanking “all those who contributed to the wellbeing of the sisters,” and asked to place them in the safety and care of Patriarch John X Yazigi. As Laham said, real comfort is in their homes.
The abduction of the nuns has raised concerns about the treatment of Christians by the rebels. They have been accused several times of vandalizing churches and abducting several clerics. Last September, Al-Nusra Front, a jihadist rebel group invaded Maaloula and attacked Christian homes and churches. About 40 nuns and orphans of St. Thecla’s had found shelter in the convent.