Red Cross Members Kidnapped by Gunmen in Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The International Committee of the Red Cross said that six of its aid workers and a member of the Syrian Red Crescent have been kidnapped by gunmen in Syria.
"Six ICRC staff members and one member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been abducted in Idlib in northwestern Syria," ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson told AFP at the organisation's Geneva base.
"We don't know who took them. It was unidentified armed men," he added.
The road on which the members were travelling is notorious for kidnappings.
"We understand from talking to activists in that area there are a number of armed groups," Al Jazeera reported.
Magne Barth, head of the ICRC's delegation in Syria, has called for the immediate release of the members in a statement released on Sunday.
"Both the ICRC and the SARC work tirelessly to provide impartial humanitarian assistance for those most in need across Syria on both sides of the front lines, and incidents such as these potentially undermine our capacity to assist those who need us most," she said.
The team had travelled to Idlib on October 10 to assess the medical situation in the area and deliver supplies to Sarmin and Idlib city. The convoy, on its way to Damascus, was clearly marked with the ICRC emblem.
Kidnapping has become an increasing problem in Syria, with journalists and aid workers frequently targeted in rebel-held parts of the country, largely located in the north.
Last month a German aid worker held for almost four months escaped his kidnappers in Idlib, just like his two colleagues who managed to flee in July, according to Gruenhelme, the aid group they worked for.