Iran Confirms Syrian Rebels Kidnapped Ex 'Revolutionary Guards'

World | August 8, 2012, Wednesday // 12:51|  views

A grab from a handout video made available by Al-Arabiya channel on 05 August 2012, stating it shows a man dressed as an officer of the Free Syrian Army (2-R) called Abdul Nasser al-Shumeir, and the group of kinapped Iranians sitting behind him, in an uns

The Iranian foreign minister has confirmed that former members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards were among the Iranians captured by Syrian rebels near Damascus.

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi denied they had any military role at present and reiterated that pilgrimage to Damascus shrines was the only purpose of their journey, the ISNA news agency reported.

"Some of those pilgrims used to be Revolutionary Guards members, some of them are retired servicemen," the minister said.

A total of 48 Iranian pilgrims who were traveling on a bus from the Damascus International Airport were abducted by armed insurgents on Sunday.

Their captors said the Iranians were apprehended while on a reconnaissance mission on behalf of the Syrian Army.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian "strongly" denied on Monday that the captured Iranians were members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

On Wednesday, Salehi requested the United Nations to assist in freeing the Iranians, saying that three of them had already been killed.

For almost 1.5 years Syria has been in a state of civil war as a popular movement has risen up against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of the Arab Spring revolutions.

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Tags: Bashar Al-Assad, Syrian president, Syrian opposition, Syria, Syrians, dictatorship, civil war, arab spring, Syrian rebels, Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, Revolutionary Guard, Iranians, kidnapping, captivity


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