About a dozen Greek Orthodox nuns in Syria were finally freed after being kidnapped in December when Islamist fighters took the ancient quarter of the Christian town of Maaloula north of Damascus. It was unclear who exactly had held the nuns or why they were released, but Syrian Greek Orthodox Bishop Louka al-Khoury praised the government military, saying "What the Syrian army achieved in Yabroud facilitated this process." Syria's Christian population has largely tried to stay on the sidelines of the country's three-year conflict that has left 140,000 dead.
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