BEIRUT

Middle East

11 Iranian pilgrims kidnapped in Syria

TEHRAN: Iran's official IRNA news agency says gunmen in Syria have kidnapped 11 Iranian pilgrims traveling by road from Turkey to Damascus.

Friday's report says a bus with 49 Iranians was stopped after leaving the town of Halab on Thursday. It says gunmen abducted 11 young men from the group but let go the other passengers, who included women, elderly men and three children.

IRNA says thieves later attacked the rest of the group, stealing their money and valuables.

Iranian pilgrims routinely visit Syria - Iran's closest ally in the Arab world - to pay homage to Shiite holy shrines.

Last month, 7 Iranian engineers building a power plant in central Syria were kidnapped. They have not yet been released.

Tehran has staunchly backed President Bashar Assad during Syria's 10-month-old uprising.

 

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