Missing Italians in Syria probably not in IS hands: ministry

AFP
A rebel fighter stands on a street covered with dust following a reported air strike by Syrian government forces in the old city of Aleppo on July 21, 2014
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A rebel fighter stands on a street covered with dust following a reported air strike by Syrian government forces in the old city of Aleppo on July 21, 2014 (AFP Photo/Ahmed Deeb)

Rome (AFP) - Two Italian aid workers who went missing in Syria this month are probably not in the hands of Islamic State jihadists, an Italian official was quoted as saying Saturday.

"As far as we know, the relevations by the Guardian are not true," said foreign ministry under-secretary Mario Giro.

Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday that Islamic State fighters had kidnapped four foreigners near the northern city of Aleppo: two Italian women, a Dane and a Japanese national.

It said they had all been taken to Raqqa, the IS stronghold in northern Syria.

Italy had announced on August 6 that Vanessa Marzullo, 21, and Greta Ramelli, 20, of the aid group Horryaty had been abducted by gunmen in a village near Aleppo.

"There are various theories and we are working on all possibilities," Giro told Rainews24. "We will not abandon anyone, but absolute discretion is required."

"The government is doing everything to secure their release and we hope it will happen soon."

Another Italian, the Jesuit priest Paolo Dall'Oglio, has been missing in Syria since July last year.

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