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Yemen: Captured soldiers were students

DAMASCUS, Syria, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Yemen's defense ministry said five military officers captured by rebels in Syria were not sent there to support President Bashar Assad's forces.

A Yemeni official told BBC Arabic the five men had been sent to the Assad Military Academy in Aleppo two years ago as part of an agreement between the two countries. The five men were traveling from Aleppo to Damascus to catch a flight back to Yemen Sept. 4 when they allegedly were captured by Islamist group al-Nusra Front.

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A video posted online shows the five men sitting below a flag that reads "al-Nusra Front." One of the Yemeni soldiers said the five were sent to Damascus to help quell the uprising against Assad.

"I ask the Yemeni government to cut all logistical and military ties because Bashar Assad's regime is a regime that is killing its people and that is what we saw with our own eyes when we came here," said a man who identified himself as Mohammed Abdo Hezam al-Meleiky in the video.

Yemen was one of just three Arab League states to vote against suspending Syria from the organization, BBC Arabic said.

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