Iran Threatens US Over Syrian Abductions By Rebels, Ready To Change Proxy War Into Immediate ‘Direct Confrontation’
Forty-eight Iranians were seized Saturday in Damascus by rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Iran claims they are pilgrims, but Abdel Nasser Shemir, a rebel commander, in an interview with the news organization Al Arabiya, charged they were members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards whose confiscated documents proved as much.
‘They are 48, in addition to an Afghani interpreter,’ Shemir said, alleging that the captives were members of a 150-strong group sent by Iran for ‘reconnaissance on the ground.’
Iran quickly blamed America, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the kidnapping.
Hours after the abduction, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, said that, ‘America and certain countries of the region are responsible for these crimes, and they will receive the appropriate response at the right time.’
A media outlet called ‘The Youth Reporter’s Club,’ which is run by the Revolutionary Guards intelligence unit, also blamed America for the abduction, stating that America, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are involved in the events in Syria and that Iran is ready to ‘change the proxy war into a direct confrontation on an immediate basis.’” Read more.
Tensions Rise Over Iranian Hostages – “A band of 48 Iranians being held hostage by Syria’s rebel army journeyed from Tehran on a trip organized by a travel agency owned by the elite troops who support and protect the Iranian regime, people familiar with the trip said. That connection—denied by Iran, a staunch supporter of the Assad government—suggests the hostages have strong ties to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, as the rebels claim… ‘Everyone on this trip was either a Guard or a Basij militia. This wasn’t a regular tour group,’ said an employee of the tour agency that organized the trip, reached by telephone.” Read more.