Gunmen abduct six Red Cross workers and local volunteer in Syria

The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed the abductions.
The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed the abductions. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Gunmen abducted six Red Cross aid workers and a local volunteer of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in northwest Syria on Sunday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

The humanitarian agency had no contact with the unidentified gunmen, ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson said, declining to reveal the identity, nationalities or gender of the six ICRC staff for now.

“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the seven colleagues abducted this morning,” Magne Barth, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Syria, said in a statement.

The team had gone to Idlib on Thursday to assess the medical situation in the province and to deliver medical supplies to Sarmin and Idlib city, it said. The convoy was clearly marked with the ICRC emblem when stopped near Sareqeb on the way back to Damascus, it added.

“Both the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent work tirelessly to provide impartial humanitarian assistance for those most in need across Syria on both sides of the front lines, and incidents such as these potentially undermine our capacity to assist those who need us most,” Barth said.

Syrian state media reported the incident earlier in the day, saying the gunmen had kidnapped the Red Cross workers after opening fire on their vehicles on Sunday.

Quoting an unnamed official, state news agency SANA said the workers were travelling in the Idlib area when gunmen blocked their path, shot at their convoy, seized them and took them to an unknown location.

“An armed terrorist group today kidnapped a number of workers in the mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria,” the report said, using a term the government frequently uses for rebels trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

Watson was not able to confirm that shots had been fired, but said the team’s vehicles were also missing.

Kidnappings have become increasingly common in northern Syria, where rebels have captured swathes of territory but government forces have clung on to many urban centers and fighting continues daily.

The ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent are the main aid groups deployed in Syria’s civil war, distributing their own supplies and most of those sent by United Nations agencies.

They have to negotiate the passage of aid convoys with a growing number of groups within the fractured opposition, ICRC officials say.

“Whether in the north or other regions of the country where the opposition groups are strongly present, it is the multiplicity of groups that makes the dialogue challenging,” Pierre Kraehenbuehl, the ICRC’s operations director, told reporters at its Geneva headquarters last month.

“Criminal actors” were also part of the challenging scenario in Syria, he said.

The 2-1/2-year conflict has claimed more than 100,000 lives and driven more than 2.1 million refugees out of their homeland.

“The ICRC is committed to assisting the Syrian people and will continue conducting its humanitarian activities both in the country and in neighboring countries for refugees there,” Barth said in the statement.

Syrian authorities on Sunday allowed 3,500 people to leave Moaddamiyah, a besieged town in the Damascus region, Watson said.

“We and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are assisting those people with emergency relief items including food and water,” he said.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish…

The Boston Marathon finish line has been evacuated and the Copley Square T station has been closed as police investigate a suspicious package, WBZ is reporting.

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.