7 Red Cross Workers Kidnapped in Syria

Team was trying to bring medical aid to dangerous rebel-controlled area
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 13, 2013 3:46 PM CDT
7 Red Cross Workers Kidnapped in Syria
A protest in front the Red Cross office in Damascus, Syria.   (AP Photo/Ola- al-Rifai)

(Newser) – Another high-profile kidnapping in Syria's civil war: Gunmen have abducted a team of seven workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross, after stopping their convoy early today in northern Syria, according to an ICRC spokesman. The abduction took place near the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province as the team was returning to Damascus with armed guards. Syria's state news agency, quoting an anonymous official, says the gunmen opened fire on the ICRC team's four vehicles before seizing the workers.

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One of the abductees is a volunteer from the Syrian Red Crescent, but the nationalities of the other six have not been released. It is also still unclear who was behind the attack, though the state news agency blamed "terrorists"—a term the government uses to refer to those opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. The ICRC spokesperson says the team of seven had been in the area to assess the medical situation and to look at how to provide medical aid. Much of the countryside in Idlib province has fallen into rebel hands, many of them Islamic extremists, and kidnappings have become rife, particularly of aid workers and foreign journalists. (Read more Syria stories.)

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