Syria priest kidnapped in Homs is free: church source

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A Syrian priest who was kidnapped in May in the central province of Homs is free and on Sunday conducted his first mass since his abduction, a church source said.

“Father (Jacques) Mourad is free. He is currently in the village of Zaydal,” about five kilometres (three miles) from the city of Homs, the source told AFP.

The priest of the Syriac Catholic Church “celebrated mass this morning in Zaydal,” the source added, without providing details on how he gained his freedom, citing security reasons.

Mourad was abducted from the town of Al-Qaryatain in May by unknown gunmen as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group overran the nearby city of Palmyra.

In August, ISIS also seized Al-Qaryatain, kidnapping some 230 civilians from the town, including 60 Christians.

The group has also destroyed an ancient monastery in the town, which was once known as a symbol of coexistence in Syria.

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