Al-Arabiya Video: Syria Rebels Say Hostages Iranian Guards

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  • W460
  • W460

Alleged Syrian rebels posted Sunday an online video of Iranians kidnapped in Damascus, charging they were elite Revolutionary Guards, and warning Tehran of further abductions over its support for Damascus.

Fighters of the al-Baraa Brigade of the rebel Free Syrian Army have "captured 48 of the shabiha (militiamen) of Iran who were on a reconnaissance mission in Damascus," said a man dressed in FSA officer's uniform in the video posted on YouTube.

"During the investigation, we found that some of them were officers in the Revolutionary Guards," he said, showing documents taken from one of the men, who appeared in the background.

In the footage, a group of men appeared sitting on the floor, while gunmen behind them carried the old Syrian flag that has been adopted by the rebels.

"We warn Iran that we will target all its installations in Syria... The fate of all Iranians working in Syria will be just like the fate of those, either prisoners, or dead," the bearded officer said.

"God is great," the gunmen chanted as he finished reading his statement.

Al-Arabiya television aired an interview with a man it identified as al-Baraa Brigade commander Abdel Nasser Shmeir.

"They are 48, in addition to an Afghani interpreter," said the officer, who is the FSA chief in the east Damascus suburb of Ghouta, claiming that the captives were members of a 150-strong group sent by Iran for "reconnaissance on the ground."

But a Syrian opposition source dismissed the videotape as a fake designed to cover-up the responsibility of hardline Sunni Islamist group Jundallah.

The source said that the faction -- which has no relation with the Sunni rebel group of the same name active in southeastern Iran -- was one of an array of Sunni Islamist factions that have proliferated in Syria in recent months.

The group also has no links with the mainstream FSA, the source said.

"Jundallah are an extremist Islamist group whose religious discourse is based on inciting hatred against Shiites and Alawites," the source told Agence France Presse on condition of anonymity, referring also to the minority sect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The video "was just a cover-up for the fact that this operation was carried out in order to target Iranian Shiites," the source said.

The source also voiced skepticism about the suggestion that the kidnapped Iranians were Revolutionary Guards.

"It makes no sense that the hostages would be members of the Revolutionary Guard," the source said. "If they were, why would they be travelling on a bus on the unsafe airport road?"

The source noted that Shiite pilgrims -- from Iran and elsewhere -- have continued to visit holy sites in Syria despite the mounting insecurity, because they believe in the sanctity of their journey, even if it involves serious risk.

The source also blamed Jundallah for recent killings of Alawite and Shiite civilians, as well as 15 Syrian troops, in Yalda, outside Damascus.

Iran has appealed to Qatar and Turkey -- both governments with close relations with the Syrian opposition -- for help in securing the release of the 48 hostages it says were visiting the Sayyida Zeinab shrine, a Shiite pilgrimage site in the southeastern suburbs of Damascus.

Tehran has repeatedly denied it has sent any military units to Syria.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday before the latest abduction was made public that "Iran has no armed forces in Syria and the Syrian government has not made such a request," according to Iranian state television channel IRIB.

"Syria has a powerful military and also enjoys popular support. The Syrians can handle the adventures that foreigners have created in their country," Vahidi said.

Comments 26
Thumb geha 05 August 2012, 11:07


Missing gcb1 05 August 2012, 19:06

Care to share what you're laughing at Geha?

Missing maroun 05 August 2012, 11:34

they should prove that they are Republican Guards then execute them

Missing maroun 05 August 2012, 11:35

Revolutionary * guards

Thumb jcamerican 05 August 2012, 11:44

I guess they caught them without weapons, only documents.

Default-user-icon Truth (Guest) 05 August 2012, 12:01

They should nail their brains out and teach Iran and Hizbollah a lesson! They should know the sneaky sleezy methods they invented can turn against them too ! From the Hizb operatives dressed up as women stealing the computers and data form the STL and hitting its investigators in Dahyé, after having organised themselves a planned tour to a private women's clinic, to directing socalled 'spontaneous' demonstrations to stone the UNIFIL investigators coming to check some hidden arms caches after suspicious explosions in the south, all these trick s are too well kown by now! Add to that now hairdressers, butchers,bus drivers, etc.. trained as deadly operatives training the shabiha, and roaming Syria on pilgirmage ! They are ever more creative !

Default-user-icon Truth (Guest) 05 August 2012, 12:38

The proof is given here, that the Leb hizb pilgirms were never but ....Pasdarans in disguise! This is a big snake, with a little offspring: the Hizb!

Thumb whyaskwhy 05 August 2012, 12:51

now way! they couldnt be there to support the they must have thought this was the Euro cruise for party club 18-30! Someone will undoubtedly tell us that this is all wrong and these are genuine Iranian tourist comming to Syria to pay homage to shrines and botanical gardens....

Thumb whyaskwhy 05 August 2012, 12:52

now way! they couldnt be there to support the they must have thought this was the Euro cruise for party club 18-30! Someone will undoubtedly tell us that this is all wrong and these are genuine Iranian tourist comming to Syria to pay homage to shrines and botanical gardens....

Missing un520 05 August 2012, 13:00

Never believed in the friirst place this pilgrim story. Not the right time to go to Damascus to do their religious duties, I think everybody would agree that it would be suicidal. The rebals have exposed the Iranians increasing involvement in the back up of Assads reign. However, the rebels will have to manage this situation carefully as to not give Iran the excuse it is looking for to join the conflict in full force to save their vital supply lines to Hizballah.

Missing canadianadam 05 August 2012, 13:17

For the skeptics, are you seriously claiming that 48 men are performing a pilgrimage???
To a country that is embroiled in civil war, where they face bombardment, checkpoints, kidnapping???

Let me guess, using the same logic, we can assume the HA thugs who have entered Syria fighting alongside a falling regime are part of some adventure tourism... Give me a break. They should be held until the fall of the regime and can only hope they are treated better than those they unfairly persecute in Iran.

Default-user-icon Tom Kinney (Guest) 05 August 2012, 13:19

Iran can't stop their crusade to turn the region into a theocracy controlled by Tehran. Theocrats are just dictators using Allah as an excuse to enslave nations.

Missing canadianadam 05 August 2012, 13:27

We should bring Hassan Nasrallah, Assad, and their Iranian masters on a traveling circus show. They can play charades, where they try and pass off executions, assassinations, and pilmigrages as silly circus gimmicks.

The shows over boys because the bad news for you is Syria is about to fall, the Iranian nation is so screwed by sanctions they will end up using their inflated currency for toilet paper, and Hassan N. is about to get a job shoveling $&:# in Dehyeh.

Default-user-icon Friedman (Guest) 05 August 2012, 14:15

To all people on this forum, i am ashamed to be lebanese, once i get my other passport i will burn my lebanese one, i do not share your thirst for blood, or your intellectual bankrupcy, i just observe how you react to news and deduce that you are so disconnected from reality that all the countries woes are your sole responsability. I hope your parents get kidnapped one day, so i can take them comments back at you. are you familiar with the principles of humanity? The declaration of human rights? the geneva convention? you have your lebanon, 14 and 8, and i have mine.

Thumb fadi_albeiruti 05 August 2012, 14:43

The 11 Lebanese hostages [ if you wanna call them that ] were In Iran doing their religious deed and then these Iranians were in Syria doing their pilgrimage in the midst of raging battles in Damascus, both groups fall into the hands of the FSA then both groups are declared pilgrims, yeah right.

Default-user-icon georges K (Guest) 05 August 2012, 15:03

Guys we should respect prisoners of war ,and hopefully use them for prisoner exchange.we should not use what assad does as our example for treatment.we are better then him.

Default-user-icon JC Williams (Guest) 05 August 2012, 18:00

This is ridiculous. Revolutionary Guards on a reconnaisance mission on a road to the airport? Why weren't they armed? These people are the kind of soft targets that only cowards would abduct. That any of you would be predisposed to believe this Saudi Televised Propaganda shows how simple and stupid you really are. Hate has blinded you. Jundallah are fantics and killers . Would any of you allow any of them in your homes? For the sake of your women I hope not.

Missing gcb1 05 August 2012, 19:08

If a rebel source dismissed the claim and the group for inciting hatred, doesn't this suggest that these men may not be revolutionary guards?

Wait for the evidence first, then draw up your conclusions. Don't just have a conclusion and then look for any partial evidence to support it.

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 05 August 2012, 21:24

they are not revolutionary guards , just iranian tourists on the syrian the ones we have in the dahie the faqihi rambo by the basement.

Thumb makhaleh 05 August 2012, 20:02

well iran did state a week ago that it will do anything to make sure the assad regime stays in power of syria so maybe they are revolutionary guards bass in the end they r still human this execute them is murder...wait for the war to end then hold them in trial then put them in jail right now they are POW(prisoners of war) allah yi7mi the resistance(free syrian army) its time for a power change in syria

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 05 August 2012, 21:26

in the meantime who will pay for the meals?

Missing gabby 05 August 2012, 22:20

For my summer vacation (pilgrimage) I thing I will go to a city under constant bombing and gun fire. Ha Ha.

These guys are liars. Republican guard killers. They are in Syria to kill Syrians. Kill them all!!!!!

Thumb whyaskwhy 06 August 2012, 08:14

Correct Karim no to foreign influence in Lebanon but you also forgot to add Syria and Iran to your list...unless that is you do not consider them influential in Lebanon?
On the note of death and killing I do beleive those that condone it do it from a lack of knowledge and experience of what it truly brings.
The only typical trait is both M14 and M8 have the hell bent wish of getting things done their way, sadly both of which have not worked.

Thumb thepatriot 07 August 2012, 08:40

FT... congrats on the elegance and formidable sence of humour... Nice...

Thumb thepatriot 06 August 2012, 11:51

Man... you're a nut case. Seriously, you should see someone...

Thumb thepatriot 06 August 2012, 11:53

Listen to yourself man... anyone who oposes syria praises KSA?? You're out of your tiny mind...