10/14/2013, 00.00
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Red Cross and Red Crescent workers kidnapped by armed men in Idlib

The area is under the control of the rebels, many of whom are radical Islamists . The group had supplied medicines and equipment to hospitals in the area . 22 members of the Red Cross have died thus far in two years of Syrian war .

Damascus ( AsiaNews ) - Six men of the International Red Cross and a Red Crescent volunteer were abducted on the road from Sarmin to Saraqeh in the northwest province of Idlib . The kidnapping took place yesterday morning and was confirmed by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.

According to the international organization's spokesperson, the seven men , after bringing supplies to hospitals in the area, were returning to Damascus when they were stopped by a group of armed men . The Red Cross has not released the nationality of the hostages , nor the identity of the kidnappers. "We do not know who they are ," the spokesperson said , calling for "the immediate release of our seven colleagues." The ICR also stated that the symbol of the Red Cross with which the vehicles are marked "are not primarily a religious symbol" but for easy recognition of the humanitarian convoys.

The Red Cross, an expert organization in bringing aid to people in situations of war tries to remain neutral in the conflict . Even the Syrian volunteers of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (their Islamic partners ) bring aid and care to the two parties to the conflict .

The area where the abduction took place is under the control of the rebels against Assad , many of them radical Islamists linked to Al Qaeda.

According to the Syrian state television , the kidnapping is the work of "terrorists" , a term used to define all the opponents of the regime . Abductions of volunteers and journalists, as well as summary executions have become increasingly common in the areas occupied by the rebels. The Red Cross said that since the beginning of the Syrian conflict 22 members lost their lives .

For some time the UN Secretary General Ban Ki -moon and the Vatican have requested that full freedom of movement be given to humanitarian organizations to carry out their task .

Since March 2011, when the uprising against Assad began, there more 100 thousand people have been killed, mostly civilians. In addition there are at least 8 million refugees and internally displaced persons.


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