(AsiaNews/Agencies) - Iran has asked Turkey and Qatar for help in the release
of 48 Iranians captured by rebels in Syria. Iran claims they are pilgrims; the
rebels say they are revolutionary guards.
about the incident were broadcast on Iranian TV, which said that a bus with
Shia pilgrims was a stopped a few kilometres from their destination, the Shia
shrine of Sayyida Zeinab. For Syrian rebels, the bus was carrying revolutionary
guards on a reconnaissance mission in Damascus.
(pictured) posted a video on line,
accusing Tehran of supporting Bashar al-Assad's regime. However, Colonel Malik
al Kurdi, a deputy commander of the Free Syrian Army, said the group taking
responsibility for the kidnapping acted on its own.
Iranian Embassy in Damascus said that the group of pilgrims was travelling on
its own in a private tour, and that it included women and children. Yesterday's
videos showed only men and Iranian documents.
incident could further poison Sunni-Shia relations, and widen the gulf between
pro- and anti-Assad countries.
has accused Turkey and Qatar of supporting the Free Syrian Army and the
anti-Assad opposition in order to bring about his downfall.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatari counterpart Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim
Bin Jabr Al-Thani agreed to seek the Iranians' release, Iran's IRNA news agency said on Sunday.
as Syrian forces mass 20,000 troops for the final assault against Aleppo's rebel
strongholds, there have been reports that Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab and
his family have fled to Jordan. Syrian television announced his resignation.
a top Baa'th party official and a Sunni, was appointed by Assad on 23 June. He said
he joined the opposition because of the regime's crimes and "genocide"
against its own people.