A senior Iranian lawmaker has called on International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help release tens of Iranian nationals abducted by militants in Syria.
Chairman of Iran Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi made the remarks during a Tuesday meeting with head of the ICRC office in Iran, Pierre Ritter.
Boroujerdi, who hailed the efforts made by the Red Cross for the release of Iranian nationals kidnapped in Libya, asked the world body to take “serious and immediate” measures for the return of 47 Iranian pilgrims kidnapped in Syria.
Foreign-backed militants in Syria have repeatedly attacked buses carrying Iranian pilgrims in the country over the past year.
In the latest of such kidnappings, 48 Iranian pilgrims were abducted on August 4, as they were traveling on a bus from Damascus International Airport to the shrine of Hazrat Zainab (AS) on the outskirts of the Syrian capital.
In a video aired by Al-Arabiya, the militants threatened to kill all of the Iranian abductees unless Damascus released their captured comrades and the army stopped operations against anti-government forces within 48 hours.
The threat was postponed after Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim Al Thani urged the militants not to kill the Iranian pilgrims.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country and reports indicate that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.