Iranian pilgrims kidnapped in Syria
The photo shows the five Iranian engineers kidnapped in the Syrian city of Homs on December 21, 2011. The second man on the right is their Syrian cook.
A group of armed militants have attacked an Iranian bus on the road connecting the capital, Damascus, to the northwestern city of Aleppo, Press TV reported.
The incident occurred on Thursday when a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims was stormed by unidentified gunmen.
The assailants kidnapped 11 men and drove off to an unknown destination, leaving the female passengers in the vehicle.
The gunmen contacted the relatives of a kidnapped passenger in Tehran, confirming the abduction of the Iranian nationals and demanding a ransom.
On December 21, five Iranian electrical engineers were kidnapped on their way to a power plant in the troubled Syrian city of Homs by unknown gunmen.
Two more Iranian experts, who were trying to clarify the situation of the five abducted engineers, have been kidnapped and there has been no immediate report about their whereabouts.
Syria has been gripped in months of unrest following the eruption of street rallies against the government of President Bashar al-Assad in mid-March.
The protests drew mass demos by supporters of the government who took to the streets across the country to condemn the unrest, and reject any foreign intervention in the country's internal affairs.
The Syrian opposition accuses security forces of conducting a deadly crackdown on protesters, but Damascus blames terrorists and armed gangs for the violence it says is orchestrated from outside the country.
Syria says its security forces have been given clear orders not to harm civilians, and that many of those killed in the months-long unrest are army and police officers assassinated in terrorist attacks.