48 Iranians Kidnapped Near Syrian Capital
The victims were kidnapped in a suburb of Damascus just a few kilometers between government troops and rebels fighting against the Assad government, Voice of America reported.
Members of the Free Syrian Army claimed that some of the Iranians abducted were members of Iran’s “elite Revolutionary Guards,” BBC news reported.
Iran meanwhile has said that the Iranians are pilgrims andwere reportedly in Syria for a religious pilgrimage to a Shiite holy site.
“The group was on its way to a Muslim shrine popular with Shiites shortly before noon when the bus was attacked, according to an Iranian Embassy official in Damascus quoted by Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency.”
Iran is asking Turkey and Qatar, both of whom have good relations with the Syrian opposition, to help with the Iranians release, BBC News reported.
CNN reported that it is unclear whether the hijacking is linked to the uprising against the Syrian government.
“The Iranian government is an ally of the al-Assad regime, which has been fighting a rebel movement dominated by Sunnis.”
Voice of America reported that efforts to free the kidnapped pilgrims are under way and that Iranian officials know where the kidnapped pilgrims are being held.
According to CNN roughly 17,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict first flared in March 2011, when government forces began cracking down on protesters.
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