Austrian Arrested Distributing Aid in Syriaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Austria's foreign ministry said Monday it had demanded an explanation from Syria over the arrest of an Austrian citizen who according to a humanitarian group had been distributing aid in the conflict-torn country.
Jamal Orabi, a 47-year-old Syrian with Austrian nationality, was arrested by Syrian military intelligence while at the home of relatives on Sunday in Aleppo, his family said Monday.
Since then, there had been no news from him, according to a relative and the Vienna-based aid organization Humanic Relief.
The foreign ministry in Vienna confirmed Orabi's arrest.
It was still unclear where he was being kept, but the ministry was considering further diplomatic steps, a spokesman said.
Humanic Relief said Orabi was working for it in Syria to distribute medicine and food to civilians caught up in the conflict.
Orabi, who lives in Austria with his wife and six children, had already performed several similar trips in the past, it said.
Humanic Relief spokesman Ahmed Elmatbouly argued that the Austrian's humanitarian work was the reason for his arrest, denying however that any of the aid was meant for the rebel forces fighting President Bashar Assad's regime.