- (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)
The Lebanese Forces Party (LFP) has called on the United Nations to help protect holy places, archaeological sites, priests and nuns in Syria following recent attacks.
There were also calls stressing the need for the UN Security Council to convene and put the ancient Christian town of Maloula and other Muslim and Christian archaeological areas in Syria under its direct protection to prevent violations against them.
Muslim militants stormed the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Takla in Syria Monday afternoon after seizing the historical Christian town of Maloula. They forcibly took away 12 nuns. The reason for the kidnapping is not yet known.
MP Fadi Karam, a member of the Lebanese Forces Bloc, denounced the kidnapping noting that they have called on the Syrian regime and all disputing parties in Syria to put Maloula under the supervision of the United Nations and spare it the armed conflict.
For his part, Father Nicola Daoud from the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Tripoli and Koura said in remarks to the Lebanese Now website that 11 nuns and the head of the convent, Mother Pelagia, were kidnapped. The abductees are Syrian and Lebanese citizens.
He expressed concern that they may face the same fate of the two abducted bishops Bolous Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim, who were kidnapped April 22 and have not been returned.
Fr. Daoud noted that the kidnapped head of the nunnery, Mother Pelagia, contacted the head of the Sednaya nunnery and told her that she is somewhere within the Syrian territory, but they still do not know more about them. He pointed out that the nunnery is unfortunately occupied now by armed groups. The priest wondered, "What is the guilt of those nuns?"
"It seems that the jihadists led nuns to the north towards Yabrood," Fr. Daoud said. "We do not know the reason for this action by the militants, but it is a kidnapping and occupation of the nunnery in order to have the upper hand in Maloula.