48 Iranian pilgrims kidnapped in Syria, report

Iranian state TV says gunmen have kidnapped 48 Iranian pilgrims visiting a holy site revered by Shiites in a suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The pilgrims were in a tour bus heading to the Sayeda Zeinab mosque on Saturday when gunmen seized them, according to Al-Alam TV, Iran’s state-run Arabic news channel. It cited an unidentified official at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus.

Iran’s English-language state TV station, Press TV, blamed “terrorists” for the abduction.

Other developments in Syria

Heavy explosions shook the Syrian capital Saturday and helicopters circled overhead as rebels appeared to be renewing their offensive in the city, witnesses and activists said.

The fresh battles show that President Bashar Assad’s victories could be fleeting as armed opposition groups regroup and resurge, possibly forcing the regime to shuffle military units to react to attacks across the country. The country’s civil war has intensified in recent weeks as rebels focused on the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.

“We heard heavy bombing since dawn,” a witness in Damascus told The Associated Press, asking that his name not be used out of fear for his personal safety. “Helicopters are in the sky.”

Saturday’s violence comes only two weeks after the government crushed a rebel run on Damascus that included incursions by fighters into downtown neighborhoods and an audacious bomb attack that killed four members of Assad’s inner circle.

The fighting in Damascus appeared likely to drain the army’s resources as fighting stretches into its second week in Aleppo, 350 kilometers (215 miles) to the north.

Late Friday, Syria’s official news agency SANA said government forces had hunted down the remnants of the “terrorist mercenaries”—its term for the rebels—in the capital’s southern neighborhood of Tadamon. It said several were killed and many others wounded.

Syria’s uprising began in March 2011 with mostly peaceful protests against the regime, but the conflict has transformed into a civil war. Activists say 19,000 people have been killed.

As the fighting grinds on, Syria reached out to its powerful ally Russia on Friday. Senior Syrian officials pleaded with Moscow for financial loans and supplies of oil products—an indication that international sanctions are squeezing Assad’s regime.

Syria is thought to be burning quickly through the $17 billion in foreign reserves that the government was believed to have at the start of Assad’s crackdown.

Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil, who has led a delegation of several Cabinet ministers to Moscow over the past few days, told reporters Friday that they requested a Russian loan to replenish Syria’s hard currency reserves, which have been depleted by a U.S. and European Union embargo on Syrian exports.

Russia has protected Syria from U.N. sanctions and continued to supply it with weapons throughout the conflict. The Kremlin, backed by fellow veto-wielding U.N. Security Council member China, has blocked any plans that would call on Assad to step down.

On Saturday, China said the West that should be blamed for obstructing diplomatic and political efforts to restore order and peace in Syria.

Wang Kejian, a deputy director of north African and west Asian affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a news conference that Western countries had hindered and sabotaged the political process by advocating regime change.

Wang reiterated China’s stance that the solution to the Syria crisis should be a political one and that it is opposed to any military intervention.

Associated Press

  • 5thDrawer

    Really. How stupid can Pilgrims actually BE ?? Didn’t they read news for the last 18 months ??

    • wargame1

      These are the same Iranian revolutionary guard , Muqtada Al sadr and Hezbushaitan army helping Dog Bashar from the very beginning. They were caught repeatedly and every time they came up with lies.Syria is a war zone specially Damascus and Aleppo is very dangerous and many Syrians are leaving town.So these are not genuine pilgrim rather they are professional Killers. 

      Well there are some truth about this special pilgrim and their mission. The following Quotes are from the Shia holy book clearly indicates their motivation in killing Sunnis. 

      “ The money of the Al-Nasib (the Sunni) is Halal (permissible to be stolen) and every thing he owns is Halal.” ( Al-Tusi,Tahzeeb Al-Ahkam, Vol. 2, p. 48 and  Al-Hur Al-Amili, Wasil Al-Shia, Vol. 11, p.60) 

      “Take the money (meaning by stealing or rip-off) of Al-Nasib (the Sunni) wherever you find it and pay to us Al-Khums (one fifth of the money).”  (Al-Tusi, Tahzeeb Al-Ahkam, Vol. 1, p. 384, Ibn Idriss,  Al-Sarair p. 484,  and Al-Hur Al-Amili, Wasil Al-Shia, Vol. 340, p.6) 

       
      According to Shia’s book, Al-Kulaini’s Al-Rawdah min al-Kafi, Vol. 8, page 160,  the Sunnis who do not accept his teachings of Shiism will be beheaded.

      “There will be nothing left between us and the Arabs, except slaughter.” (Baqir Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 52, p. 349  and  Al-Numani, Al-Ghaiba, p. 155)

      • 5thDrawer

        Wow Wargame … not quite the same as Jesus just kicking money-lenders out of a temple, eh? 😉

      • breakthemould

         This cannot be right. How come for centuries they lived together in peace? it is now that this think is exaggerated to suit some people. True there are some different approaches in the philosophy of both sects. and minor differences. In Lebanon there are Druze, Christians, Sunni’s, Armenians, Greek Orthodox etc. I have not heard over the centuries ( and I emphasize the Centuries ) of great conflicts between Shiaas and Sunnis, have you. Heard of Druze and Christians, Christians and Muslims but I am not aware of Shiaa’s stealing Sunni’s money in previous centeries. I think one has to be very careful here in spite of the references you give in you text. It could all be fake. There are Shiaa’s and Sunni’s in Iraq where the whole thing is much more pronounced. Are you aware of evidence that Shiaa’s who are majority stealing Sunni’s money. If you are please educate me.

        • Moe2000

          It’s the opposite he is just a lunatic Salafi… Basra is Shia 100 billion barrels of oil Saddam stole for 40 years. Al Qatif Al Ahsa majority Shia 200 billion barrels of oil Al Saud has been stealing for 100 years.

    • wargame1

      These are the same Iranian revolutionary guard , Muqtada Al sadr and Hezbushaitan army helping Dog Bashar from the very beginning. They were caught repeatedly and every time they came up with lies.Syria is a war zone specially Damascus and Aleppo is very dangerous and many Syrians are leaving town.So these are not genuine pilgrim rather they are professional Killers. 

      Well there are some truth about this special pilgrim and their mission. The following Quotes are from the Shia holy book clearly indicates their motivation in killing Sunnis. 

      “ The money of the Al-Nasib (the Sunni) is Halal (permissible to be stolen) and every thing he owns is Halal.” ( Al-Tusi,Tahzeeb Al-Ahkam, Vol. 2, p. 48 and  Al-Hur Al-Amili, Wasil Al-Shia, Vol. 11, p.60) 

      “Take the money (meaning by stealing or rip-off) of Al-Nasib (the Sunni) wherever you find it and pay to us Al-Khums (one fifth of the money).”  (Al-Tusi, Tahzeeb Al-Ahkam, Vol. 1, p. 384, Ibn Idriss,  Al-Sarair p. 484,  and Al-Hur Al-Amili, Wasil Al-Shia, Vol. 340, p.6) 

       
      According to Shia’s book, Al-Kulaini’s Al-Rawdah min al-Kafi, Vol. 8, page 160,  the Sunnis who do not accept his teachings of Shiism will be beheaded.

      “There will be nothing left between us and the Arabs, except slaughter.” (Baqir Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 52, p. 349  and  Al-Numani, Al-Ghaiba, p. 155)

      • 5thDrawer

        Wow Wargame … not quite the same as Jesus just kicking money-lenders out of a temple, eh? 😉

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      yes i am sure they did, but unlike you they didnt read propaganda news…

  • 5thDrawer

    Really. How stupid can Pilgrims actually BE ?? Didn’t they read news for the last 18 months ??

    • wargame1

      These are the same Iranian revolutionary guard , Muqtada Al sadr and Hezbushaitan army helping Dog Bashar from the very beginning. They were caught repeatedly and every time they came up with lies.Syria is a war zone specially Damascus and Aleppo is very dangerous and many Syrians are leaving town.So these are not genuine pilgrim rather they are professional Killers. 

      Well there are some truth about this special pilgrim and their mission. The following Quotes are from the Shia holy book clearly indicates their motivation in killing Sunnis. 

      “ The money of the Al-Nasib (the Sunni) is Halal (permissible to be stolen) and every thing he owns is Halal.” ( Al-Tusi,Tahzeeb Al-Ahkam, Vol. 2, p. 48 and  Al-Hur Al-Amili, Wasil Al-Shia, Vol. 11, p.60) 

      “Take the money (meaning by stealing or rip-off) of Al-Nasib (the Sunni) wherever you find it and pay to us Al-Khums (one fifth of the money).”  (Al-Tusi, Tahzeeb Al-Ahkam, Vol. 1, p. 384, Ibn Idriss,  Al-Sarair p. 484,  and Al-Hur Al-Amili, Wasil Al-Shia, Vol. 340, p.6) 

       
      According to Shia’s book, Al-Kulaini’s Al-Rawdah min al-Kafi, Vol. 8, page 160,  the Sunnis who do not accept his teachings of Shiism will be beheaded.

      “There will be nothing left between us and the Arabs, except slaughter.” (Baqir Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 52, p. 349  and  Al-Numani, Al-Ghaiba, p. 155)

      • 5thDrawer

        Wow Wargame … not quite the same as Jesus just kicking money-lenders out of a temple, eh? 😉

      • breakthemould

         This cannot be right. How come for centuries they lived together in peace? it is now that this think is exaggerated to suit some people. True there are some different approaches in the philosophy of both sects. and minor differences. In Lebanon there are Druze, Christians, Sunni’s, Armenians, Greek Orthodox etc. I have not heard over the centuries ( and I emphasize the Centuries ) of great conflicts between Shiaas and Sunnis, have you. Heard of Druze and Christians, Christians and Muslims but I am not aware of Shiaa’s stealing Sunni’s money in previous centeries. I think one has to be very careful here in spite of the references you give in you text. It could all be fake. There are Shiaa’s and Sunni’s in Iraq where the whole thing is much more pronounced. Are you aware of evidence that Shiaa’s who are majority stealing Sunni’s money. If you are please educate me.

        • Moe2000

          It’s the opposite he is just a lunatic Salafi… Basra is Shia 100 billion barrels of oil Saddam stole for 40 years. Al Qatif Al Ahsa majority Shia 200 billion barrels of oil Al Saud has been stealing for 100 years.

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      yes i am sure they did, but unless you they didnt read propaganda news…