Conflict & Justice

7 aid workers kidnapped in Syria, Red Cross says

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Militants with the Free Syrian Army sit in the back of pick-up truck in the northwestern city of Idlib, on February 21, 2012. Syrian forces blitzed opposition hubs and opened fire to disperse daring protesters in the capital, monitors said, as the Red Cross sought ways to deliver aid to afflicted areas.

Credit:

Bulent Kilic

Seven aid workers were kidnapped by armed gunmen Sunday in northwestern Syria, according to the Red Cross.

Six Red Cross workers and one worker from the Red Crescent were reportedly taken in Syria's Idlib province, the International Committee of the Red Cross told CNN.

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The abduction took place Sunday morning as the team was returning to Damascus, the Associated Press reported.

The unidentified gunmen opened fire on the team's four vehicles before seizing the workers.

Simon Schorno, a spokesman for the ICRC in Damascus, told the AP the part of northern Syria where they were kidnapped "by definition is a difficult area to go in."

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The team had been in the field since Oct. 10 to assess the area's medical situation.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the kidnapping, but Syrian state TV blamed it on what it called "armed terrorists" -- a term it frequently uses to describe anti-government rebels.