World Bulletin/News Desk
Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi visited Qatar in the past week to discuss the fate of 48 Iranians kidnapped by rebels in Syria, a deputy foreign minister said on Saturday, according to Iran's Fars news agency.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian did not say who Salehi met while in Qatar, whose government is a major supporter of rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran's closest ally in the region.
Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow Assad seized the group of 48 Iranians in August, accusing them of being members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards sent to help Syrian government forces crush the uprising which began in March last year.
Iran says the group was on a religious pilgrimage and has called for their immediate release.
"During this trip in addition to the developments in Syria, specifically the 48 kidnapped Iranian pilgrims in Syria were discussed," Amir-Abdollahian said, according to Fars.
Iran has called on Turkey and Qatar to use their links with rebel groups to help secure their freedom.
The al-Baraa brigade, part of the main rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, said last week it would start killing the Iranians within 48 hours unless Assad freed Syrian opposition detainees and stopped shelling civilian areas.
But Qatar, following a request from Iran, urged the rebels not to carry out the threat. Amir-Abdollahian said on Saturday the kidnapped Iranians were in good health.
Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, also visited Qatar this week, Qatari news agencies reported. Saudi Arabia is also supporting the Syrian rebels.
There was no indication of any link between the two visits.
Turkish Foreign Ministry condemns approval of 770 new settlements in East Jerusalem
Khebisa works as a freelance journalist based in the West Bank
Senior officers stationed in Afghanistan detained at Dubai International Airport, brought to Turkey
The US has named three al-Qaeda operatives present in Iran, which Iran has denied
Regime planes also struck a storehouse in Aleppo, which has been reeling under a crippling siege by the Syrian regime for the past two weeks
Netanyahu says his government has been able to defeat international boycott movement by attacking on 'many fronts'
Eight people have been killed and more than 20 injured after strikes hit civilians in Aleppo
Israeli officials decline to give details about the meeting
The Jerusalem Post newspaper said Eshki led a delegation of "businessmen and academics" on a mission to promote a stalled Saudi-led 2002 Arab peace initiative.
"The doctors could only yell for their colleagues to take cover and shield the babies," the group said in a statement.
Aleppo has seen an uptick in airstrikes in recent days
Clashes erupt in Manbij after ISIL ignores 48-hour offer by US-backed rebels to leave the town
Hamas hired more than 40,000 people after it seized Gaza in 2007 following deadly clashes with militants of Fatah, the party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
Qatar-based Islamic organization describes last week’s failed coup bid in Turkey as ‘haram’ act
Airstrikes target opposition-held parts of Aleppo and Idlib provinces