Four kidnapped Red Cross aid workers freed
Four of seven aid workers abducted in Syria have been released, the Red Cross said Monday, adding that there had been no word on the fate of the three workers still kidnapped.
Robert Mardini, head of ICRC operations for the Near and Middle East, said in a tweet the four were "safe and sound" after their abduction on Sunday, according to Reuters.
ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson added that the four had been released in Syria's northern Idlib region, a near-lawless area dominated by militia, Reuters said. Watson did not elaborate on the circumstances of the aid workers' release.
Watson added that the Red Cross will not halt its humanitarian work in Syria, despite the risks its workers face.
"We are completely committed to supporting the Syrian population in this difficult moment," he told Swiss public radio, according to Agence France Presse.
"We don't have any intention of stopping our activities in Syria, but of course this situation makes us reflect and take a close look at our operations because in the end, we will not be able to work and help the Syrian population without having security for our personnel," he said, AFP reported.
"We are worried that these types of incidents will prevent us from having as large of an access in the future and from carrying out our humanitarian work," Watson added.
Meanwhile, the ICRC was still awaiting news on the fate of the other kidnapped workers, according to Reuters. The kidnapping of the seven, which occurred early Sunday morning, sheds light on the increasing risks posed by continuing humanitarian work in Syria.
Six of those kidnapped are ICRC staff workers and one is a volunteer from the Syrian Red Crescent. The group was abducted by gunmen as they returned from a four-day mission spent delivering medical supplies, Reuters reported.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based organisation monitoring action on the ground in Syria, reported that the abduction had been carried out by militants working with the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and that several rebels from another group were taken with them, according to Reuters.
The ICRC said it could not confirm these reports.