12:08 14 October 2013
An unidentified group of gunmen has intercepted a convoy carrying six International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and one Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteer travelling in Idlib province and kidnapped the workers.
Syrian state news agency Sana has quoted an unnamed official saying the workers were abducted and taken to an unknown location after gunmen blocked their path and shot at their convoy.
Meanwhile, ICRC has declined to reveal the identity of the kidnapped victims but they are believed to include both local and international staff.
ICRC spokeswoman Rima Kamal has appealed to the release of 7 individuals. She said: "We call for the immediate release of the seven colleagues abducted this morning... who work tirelessly to provide assistance to those most in need in Syria. Incidents such as this one unfortunately will undermine our capacity to assist those who need our help.”
Although the agency did not confirm whether shots had been fired, they said that the team’s vehicles were also missing.
In a statement, they also claimed that the vehicles they use are clearly marked as providing aid and that the Red Cross emblem is “not a religious emblem”.
The team had travelled to Idlib on October 10th to “assess the medical situation in several Idlib Governorate health structures and to deliver medical supplies” to Sarmin and Idlib city.
Information as to who carried the kidnapping hasn’t released yet but Syrian state TV said “armed terrorists” are responsible.
BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut added that hardline Islamist rebels are known to operate in the area.
According to the UN, over 100,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.
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