Syrian rebels say Iranians are Guards

Aug. 5, 2012 at 7:03 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- The 48 Iranians captured by Syrian rebels are not innocent pilgrims but members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, rebels told al-Arabiya network.

In footage shown on the network Sunday, an unidentified man dressed in the uniform of the Free Syrian Army said the rebels "captured 48 of the Shabiha (militiamen) of Iran who were on a reconnaissance mission in Damascus. During their investigation, we found that some of them were officers of the Revolutionary Guards."

Abdel Nasser Shmeir, identified as the commander of the al-Baraa Brigade, said the Iranians caught with an Afghan interpreter are part of a 150-member group sent by Iran.

Iran maintains those captured are pilgrims. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi Saturday called his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu to intervene, Iran's Press TV said. Press TV said the group of 48 Iranian pilgrims were traveling on a bus to the shrine of Hazrat Zainab on the outskirts of Damascus when they were abducted.

Hazrat Zainab was the granddaughter of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed through his daughter Fatimah.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
North Korea: Airport terminal is 'new face' of country
Texas AG Ken Paxton facing first-degree felony fraud charges
Kurds plan to carve state out of Iraq after fighting stops, leaders say
Anonymous calls for #MillionPersonMarch on Independence Day
Paraguayan song pays tribute to Pope Francis, goes viral