10/14/2013 08:46 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Syria Red Cross Kidnappings: 4 Of 7 Workers Freed

(adds details, background)

GENEVA, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Three of the six Red Cross aid workers abducted by gunmen in northwest Syria on Sunday have been released, along with a volunteer from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday.

"Good news! We confirm that the Syrian Red Crescent volunteer and three out of six ICRC colleagues have been released safe and sound," Robert Mardini, head of ICRC operations for the Near and Middle East, said in a tweet.

ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson said the four were released in the Idlib region, but gave no details on their identities or circumstances of their liberation. The independent aid agency was awaiting information on the remaining three, he said.

Unidentified gunmen abducted six Red Cross aid workers and a local Red Crescent volunteer in northwest Syria on Sunday, as they were returning to Damascus after a four-day mission to deliver medical supplies in Idlib, the ICRC said.

"Of course this type of incident is terrible because it is disruptive and puts in jeopardy our operations in Syria," Mardini told Reuters in Geneva hours before the partial release.

The ICRC remain committed to its relief operations in Syria where it is delivering food, water and medical supplies to displaced civilians and trying to evacuate the wounded, he said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles; Editing by Angus MacSwan)



Syria War In October (Warning: Graphic Images)