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2 January 2012 - 14:22

A senior Iranian official says intensive efforts are underway to secure the release of several Iranian engineers that were abducted by unknown elements in Syria's Western city of Homs last month.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Monday that the seven kidnapped Iranian professionals have been reported in good health and Tehran will soon announce the good news on their release.

On December 26, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem assured his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi that Damascus would do its best to locate the kidnapped Iranians in the shortest possible time and send them back to their families.

Eight technicians, including five Iranian electrical engineers, were abducted at 6:30 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) on December 21 after a group of unknown gunmen attacked their convoy in Homs. They were on their way to work at the city's Jandar power plant, which has been under construction by Iranian technicians for the past two years.

Two more Iranian specialists, who were trying to clarify the fate of the five abducted engineers, have been also kidnapped and there has been no immediate report on their whereabouts.

Iran's Embassy in Damascus has issued a statement, calling on the Syrian government to take immediate measures to gain the release of the Iranian abductees and identify their kidnappers.

The Syrian city of Homs has been the scene of unrest since mid-March.

The Syrian government insists that foreign-backed outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence in the country.

In addition, Syrian state TV has broadcast reports showing seized weapon caches and confessions by terrorist elements, describing how they obtained arms from foreign sources.
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News ID 181333