DAMASCUS - Eleven kidnapped Iranians in Syria have been released but 18 others are being held hostage, Iran's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Hossein Amir Abdollahian said the kidnappers wanted to pressure Tehran to abandon its support for the Syrian government, facing an 11-month revolt against President Bashar Assad's rule. Iran is one of Syria's closest and most powerful regional allies.
"We will continue our serious support for the Syrian people and President Assad within the framework of his reform program and in fighting foreign intervention and terrorism," he said at a news conference in Damascus.
Abdollahian declined to say how the 11 Iranians were freed.