Tehran, Aug. 5 (Xinhua-ANI): Iran's Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi has sought Qatar and Turkey's help for the release of abducted Iranian pilgrims in Syria, local media reported on Sunday.
48 Iranian pilgrims were abducted by the militants on their way to Damascus airport on Saturday, the Iranian state IRIB TV website reported.
Majid Kamjou, the Chief Counsel of Iran's embassy to Syria, told IRIB that this group of pilgrims was scheduled to pay a pilgrimage to a Shiite shrine in suburban Damascus before leaving Damascus to Tehran, but they were abducted on the Damascus airport road.
In a phone conversation with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al-Thani, Salehi called for Qatar's help for the release of the pilgrims, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.
The Qatari foreign minister said he would make every efforts to help release the kidnapped Iranian pilgrims, according to IRNA.
Also, in a phone conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday, Salehi requested Ankara's immediate intervention to secure the release of abducted Iranian pilgrims, Press TV reported.
Pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV said later Saturday that the kidnapped Iranians were released. However, a source in the Iranian embassy to Syria told Xinhua that the pilgrims were not released, disclosing no further details.
Shiite pilgrims in Syria have been the target of kidnap since the 17-month unrest in Syria has veered toward a sectarian rift between the government forces and opposition. (Xinhua-ANI)