Contrary to earlier reports that five Iranian engineers abducted in Syria were released yesterday, today it was confirmed that the released Iranians were in fact pilgrims who had been traveling in Syria.
ISNA reports that an informed source at the Iranian embassy in Syria says the five people released were Iranian pilgrims who had been kidnapped during their religious voyage.
The report adds that these individuals have been handed over to Turkish authorities, and efforts continue to bring about the release of five engineers abducted in Homs.
Last night, Iranian media reported that the five kidnapped engineers in Syria were released and turned over to Turkey.
In recent months, several Iranians in Syria have been abducted by Syrian opposition forces. The Iranians were either pilgrims or engineers working on development projects in the country.
Syrian opposition forces have been critical of the Islamic Republic’s support of the Beshar Assad government and have described the kidnapping of Iranians as a warning to the Iranian government.
So far, seven engineers and 22 pilgrims have been abducted in Syria, and the Islamic Republic has issued a warning to its citizens to avoid travelling to Syria by train or bus.