Gunmen abduct Red Cross workers in Syria



Gunmen have kidnapped six workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) volunteer in northwestern Syria.

According to a spokesman for the ICRC, the abduction occurred near the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province on Sunday when the team was coming back to the Syrian capital Damascus.

“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the seven colleagues,” said Magne Barth, head of the ICRC’s Syria delegation.
The ICRC, however, has not revealed the identity, gender or nationality of the abducted workers.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings so far.

Syrian state TV also confirmed the incident, saying it was done by foreign-backed militants operating in the Arab country.

Kidnappings have become prevalent, particularly of aid workers and foreign journalists in northern part of Syria.

In August, the ICRC said 22 Syrian Red Crescent volunteers have been killed in Syria since the crisis started in March 2011.

Also on Sunday, the ICRC announced that the organization along with the SARC evacuated 3,500 people from Moadamiyet al-Sham, which is a suburb of the capital.

SARC head of operations Khaled Erksoussi said that most were women and children, who were “in a state of major fatigue and were very scared.”

Moadamiyet al-Sham has been a focal point of clashes between the Syrian government forces and the foreign-backed militants. The area has been besieged by the Syrian army for months.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the violence.



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