BEIRUT, Lebanon — Gunmen abducted six Red Cross workers and a Syrian Red Crescent volunteer after stopping their convoy early Sunday in northwestern Syria, a spokesman said, in the latest high-profile kidnapping in the country's civil war.
Simon Schorno, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Damascus, said the assailants snatched the seven aid workers from their convoy near the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province as the team was returning to Damascus. He declined to provide the nationalities of the six ICRC employees, and said it was not clear who was behind the attack
Syria's state news agency, quoting an anonymous official, said the gunmen opened fire on the ICRC team's four vehicles before seizing the Red Cross workers. The news agency blamed "terrorists," a term the government uses to refer to those opposed to President Bashar Assad.
Schorno said the team of seven had been in the field since Oct. 10 to assess the medical situation in the area. He said the part of Syria where they were seized "by definition is a difficult area to go in," and the team was traveling with armed guards.
The conflict has taken a toll on the aid community. The ICRC said in August that 22 Syrian Red Crescent volunteers have been killed. Some were targeted, while others were killed in cross fire, the group said.