Release expected soon for the 5 Yemeni soldiers currently detained in Syria
“The organization contacted Syrian organizations and activists in order to help release the detainees,” Barman said.
Barman said the detainees are Yemeni students who were officially sent to study at Al-Asa’ad Military Academy in Halb. It is unsubstantiated that they were in Syria to side with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, he added.
He questioned the validity of news reports reporting that the Yemeni government sent these soldiers to Syria, asserting that those who captured them have no relation to the Free Syrian Army, the country’s main armed opposition group. Barman said the Yemeni soldiers were forced to declare they’re allegiance to fight for Assad’s regime.
“The militant groups that arrested them threatened to execute them, yet they say they will hand them over as soon as possible,” he said.
A group calling itself “The Front of Triumph” had declared it detained the five Yemeni officers in Syria.
Video footage available on various websites shows five people under a black flag—on which “The Front of Triumph” is written. The footage suggests that the five officers are Yemenis who were arrested, with their military identification cards, in the southern part of Syria.
Those five people appeared to say they were in Halb, south of Syria, which has been witnessing fierce confrontations between the regime’s military forces and opposition militants.
“I came to Syria in line with planned coordination between the Yemeni and the Syrian government to crack down on the Syrian revolution,” one of the detainees said on the video.
On Monday, a source at the Ministry of Defense confirmed to the Defense Ministry-based September Net news website that the Yemeni officers, who were kidnapped at the hands of an armed group in Syria, were sent to study at the Al-Assad Military Studies Academy in Aleppo two years ago and not to back President Assad’s regime, as the group alleged.
The source denied that the officers are connected with the current uprising in Syria.
In the same interview, the source added that the officers, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Abdu Hizam Al-Mulaiki, Lieutenant Colonel Ali Hassan Ahmed Salama, Captain Hani Saleh Hussein Nizar, Lieutenant Hassan Mohammed Ali Alwaheeb and Lieutenant Ahmed Ali Radman, were returning to Yemen after finishing their bachelor’s degrees.
He said the officers were kidnapped at the outset of September in Idlib, located between Damascus and Aleppo, as they were traveling to Damascus.
The officers were forced to drive from Aleppo to Damascus because of the flight cancelations at Aleppo Airport, he said.
The source indicated that the Defense Ministry sent an official letter to the head of the Red Cross in Yemen to intervene and help the officers.
The source asserted that the Defense ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is exerting its utmost efforts to secure the release of the officers as soon as possible.