Pope appeals for release of nuns taken in Syria

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 4 - Pope Francis called for prayers Wednesday for the safety and release of a group of nuns taken from a Greek Orthodox retreat in Syria.

In an appeal at the end of his weekly general audience, Francis said that the nuns had been taken by armed men earlier in the week from their residence of Santa Takla near the predominantly Christian village of Maaloula about 75 km from Damascus.

"I wish now to invite you all to pray for the nuns, as well as for other hostages of conflict," said the pope.

Opposition fighters in Syria took the 12 nuns and moved them to a rebel-held town, the mother superior told news agencies on Tuesday.

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