The 11 Iranian pilgrims recently kidnapped by Syrian opposition forces have been released.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says the pilgrims were released “with the aid of friendly countries.”
Turkish media reported that the armed opposition forces referred to as the Free Syrian Army released the 11 Iranian pilgrims through Turkish mediation. The opposition group later announced that it has no enmity with the Iranian people and is only critical of the Islamic Republic’s support for the government of Bashar al-Assad.
Mehmanparast condemned the pilgrims’ kidnapping, calling it “against humane, moral and internationally accepted principles.”
The 11 pilgrims were abducted on February 1 en route from Halab to Damascus.
In November, two Iranian technicians were reportedly kidnapped in Homs, and a while before that, five Iranian engineers were kidnapped in the same city, which has been a hotbed of protest during the months of Syrian unrest.
Another opposition group, called the Movement against the Spread of Shi’aism in Syria have demanded that Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah to end their support of the Bashar Assad regime.
Iran has warned Iranian pilgrims to avoid travelling to Syria by land to reduce risk of further abductions.