March 10 - A church service in Damascus celebrates release of captive nuns. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Celebrations in the Holy Cross Church in Damascus as captive nuns return. Al Qaeda fighters held them for more than three months. They were freed as part of a prisoner swap for women held by President Bashar al-Assad's government. Activists say the government released 15 women prisoners. Now a moment of joy... (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN WOMAN, RAFQA LAQTINEH, SAYING: "It was the biggest joy and victory to our country and all Syrian people." The 13 nuns went missing in December after Islamist fighters took the ancient quarter of a Christian town of north of Damascus. Another woman says Syria will always be home. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN WOMAN, WASSILAH, SAYING: "We are rooted here in Syria. We love our country and we will stay here." After three years of war -- now a rare moment of relief and joy in a country where tens of thousands have died, and millions have been displaced.