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Russian Embassy in Damascus checking information about hostage Sergei Gorbunov

October 24, 2013, 12:59 UTC+3

Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar formerly known as Muhajireen Brigade claimed responsibility for kidnapping engineer Sergei Gorbunov

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MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Embassy in Damascus is checking the information about the person captured in Syria, who might be Russian citizen Sergei Gorbunov, a Foreign Ministry official told Itar-Tass.

"The Russian Embassy in Damascus is checking the media reports," the diplomat said.

Earlier it was reported that extremist group Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (“Army of Emigrants and Supporters”), formerly known as Muhajireen Brigade claimed responsibility for kidnapping engineer Sergei Gorbunov. On Thursday, the militants placed under their video message a call to the Syrian authorities asking to release Saudi Arabia citizen Khalid Mohammed Suleiman who is in prison in the city of Hama.

This group, consisting entirely of mercenaries from the Islamic world, is known in Syria by its brutality. They operate in the area of ​​Aleppo, where the Syrian army is currently fighting with the insurgents. The bandits have become famous for their videos on the internet with executions of people.

On Wednesday, the terrorists placed on the Internet a video with the Russian to address to the Russian and Syrian authorities requesting to exchange him through the International Committee of the Red Cross on the citizen of Saudi Arabia.

"If the exchange doesn’t take place, I’ll be stabbed,” Gorbunov reads.

The authenticity of the video cannot be confirmed yet.

Another Russian hostage

Islamist militants are holding one more Russian hostage, Konstantin Zhuravlyov, a fan of extreme traveling. He penetrated the Syrian territory from Turkey without any authorization and thus encroached on Syrian laws - an offense that may entail a prison term.

Zhuravlyov mentioned Syria as just a leg of his wanderings aimed at reaching the Sahara.

The militants claim they “detained a Russian spy.”

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