Iran Foreign Ministry welcomes release of nationals in Syria
Iran Foreign Ministry has expressed gratitude to Syria for securing the release of 48 Iranian nationals abducted by rebels in the Arab country, Press TV reported.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry also thanked Turkey and Qatar for their aid in securing the release of hostages.
The statement also congratulated the Iranian nation on the return of the abductees to their families and Iranian nation, and sincerely thanked those who were involved in their release.
The statement described the abduction of Iranians as inconsistent with the human principles and harmful to the security and stability of the region.
The ministry expressed hope for lasting peace and security in Syria, with the immediate cessation of hostilities and violence in the country.
Meanwhile, Iranians held hostage by Syrian rebels since early August arrived at a hotel in Syria's capital city of Damascus for a press conference after being freed in a prisoner swap.
On Wednesday, Syrian authorities released 2,100 civilian prisoners detained during demonstrations in the country.
Syrian authorities agreed to release prisoners in exchange for 48 Iranian citizens detained earlier by Syrian opposition forces.
The exchange of prisoners was mediated by Qatar and Turkey. Four citizens of Turkey were amongst the prisoners released by the Syrian government, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
On Aug. 4, 48 Iranian nationals who Tehran says were Shiite pilgrims visiting a holy site in the Syrian capital, were kidnapped on the road leading from Damascus international airport to the city. The bus, which the Iranians were in, was stopped on the outskirts of the capital at a rebel checkpoint. Video posted at YouTube on Sunday claims that the Iranians are not really pilgrims but members of the IRGC, who arrived in Syria with the intelligence mission.