Skip to comments.Tehran seeks help to free Iranians held in Syria [ asks Turkey and Qatar ]
Posted on 08/05/2012 12:24:05 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Iran has asked Turkey and Qatar to help secure the release of 48 Iranians seized by rebels in Syria on suspicion of being military personnel but who Tehran says are pilgrims.
Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad accuse Iran of sending fighters from its Revolutionary Guard to help Assad's forces put down the 17-month uprising.
Tehran denies the charge and says the group was on a religious pilgrimage to Syria. Iranian media said on Saturday that the 48 were abducted from a bus in Damascus, the latest in a string of kidnappings of visitors from the Islamic Republic, a country allied to Assad...
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatari counterpart Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani agreed to seek the Iranians' release during separate phone conversations with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, IRNA said on Sunday.
Tehran has accused Turkey and Qatar of helping rebels fighting to topple Assad, a close ally Iran has praised for promising political reforms. Several Iranians previously abducted in Syria have been released to Turkish authorities before returning to Iran...
The interview was aired after the broadcast of a video showing armed men checking the identity cards of the kidnapped Iranians...
Syria's state television reported on Saturday that "armed terrorist groups" had snatched the Iranians who had intended to visit the Sayyeda Zeinab mosque, a popular pilgrimage site.
But Shumair said the bus was far from the mosque and heading to areas where government forces and rebels were fighting.
The bulk of the Syrians conducting the insurgency against Assad belong to the Sunni Muslim majority, while Assad comes from the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam which is the main religion of Iran.
(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Mirna Sleiman; Editing by Rosalind Russell)
Syrian forces vow 'decisive' showdown for Aleppo (news search results):
“Pilgrims” is a new one, usually it takes 48 to escort a humanitarian truck shipment of baby formula.
heh, fast way to fill that thang.
Pilgrims were on their way to a wedding, their weapons were to be fired in clebration only.
And my grandma's apple strudel.
Actually, I'm completely buying that. Anyone heading into Damascus that ain't packin' is a danged fool. ;-)