Iran urges release of abductees in Syria
Iran has called on United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan to help with the immediate release of Iranian nationals kidnapped by armed rebels in the crisis-stricken country.
In a meeting with the international envoy in Damascus on Tuesday, Iran's Ambassador to Syria Mohammad Reza Raouf Sheibani urged Annan to pressure all sides involved to secure the release of the Iranian abductees.
The ambassador called for regional and international efforts to free all Iranian nationals kidnapped in Syria.
Three Iranian truck drivers who had entered Syria via its border with Turkey were kidnapped on May 21 in the Arab country. They were driving trucks which carried cargo from Iran to Syria.
This is not the first time that Iranian nationals have been kidnapped by armed opposition elements in Syria.
Five Iranian electrical engineers were kidnapped on December 21, 2011, on their way to work at Jandar power plant near the city of Homs, which has been under construction by Iranian technicians for the past two years. Two Iranian officials, who were trying to determine the fate of the engineers, were also nabbed.
Also, in two separate incidents, two groups of Iranian pilgrims, each consisting of 11 pilgrims that were visiting Syria’s holy sites, were kidnapped by the Syrian rebels respectively on January 26 and February 7.
The pilgrims and two of the engineers have so far been freed and returned home through the mediation of Turkish authorities.
Syria has been the scene of unrest since mid-March, 2011.