The Free Syrian Army has copped to yesterday’s kidnapping of 48 Iranian pilgrims on a bus yesterday outside the capital city of Damascus, releasing a video today defending the move, claiming that the unarmed busload of Iranians were actually members of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Iranian religious pilgrims have regularly been targeted in the Syrian civil war, as the Sunni rebels see the Shi’ite Iranians as a legitimate target. The latest round of captives were also reported as pilgrims initially, having arrived at the airport and been put on a tour bus heading to a key Shi’ite shrine.
Which makes a lot more sense at first blush than the idea that Iran sent several highly trained military officers to Syria on a bus, and left them totally unarmed and without any military escort.
Iran has asked the Turkish and Qatari governments to intercede and help with the release of their citizens. Turkey and Qatar have openly backed the FSA for months, hoping to see them replace the Syrian government.