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BEIRUT, May 27 (Itar-Tass) — Armed extremists connected with Al Qaeda, kidnapped a group of engineers and technicians of the Syrian Furat Oil Company, reports the SANA news agency.
According to the agency, the bus with them was stopped on Saturday near the Omar deposit in the north-eastern province of Deir-ez-Zor. Company staff members were driven in an unknown direction. Syrian security forces are looking for abductors who kidnapped the oilmen.
In the meantime, the fate of 11 Shiite pilgrims from Lebanon, abducted in northern Syria on Tuesday, is unknown up to this time. Reports, transmitted on Friday about their release and shifting to Turkey, have not been confirmed.
Lebanese premier Najib Mikati cancelled his visit to Ankara, planned for the weekend, while the Hezbollah leadership put “the entire responsibility for the life of abducted Lebanese citizens” on the Turkish authorities. Fearing unrest among Shiites, the Lebanese authorities took increased security measures in Beirut.
A Sunni politician, Lebanese ex-premier Saad Hariri, heading the opposition Mustakbal movement, takes efforts for the earliest release of the hostages. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, “all hostages are alive, but are now outside Turkey”.
It was reported earlier that the pilgrims, returning by bus from Iran, had been abducted by gunmen from the extremist groups Martyrs of Revolution, who do not subordinate to the insurgent grouping Syrian Liberation Army.