Human rights activists press for the release of five Yemeni captives held in Syria amidst fighting
Abdulrahman Barman, a lawyer at HOOD, said the detainees have not been released, indicating the captives are still under investigation by the Syrian Al-Nusra Front. Barman said the SAF would set the detainees free once they are proven innocent of any affiliation with the Syrian regime—a association SAF currently says the five Yemeni soldiers keep.
“There are efforts put in by the organization to release the captives; human rights activists and organizations in Syria have been contacted to help set the detainees free,” Barman said.
A group hailing itself “The Front of Victory” declared that it was responsible for the kidnapping of the five Yemeni officers.
Video footage released on websites show five Yemenis underneath a black flag on which “The Front of Victory” is written. In the video, the captives are Yemenis holding their military cards.
The five men said they were in Aleppo, north of Syria, which is witnessing fierce clashes between the Syrian military forces and the rebels. They said they are studying at university in Syria.
A military source at the Ministry of Defense announced that they are following the five kidnapped officers in Syria. He said the current communication with the Syrian Al-Nusra Front resulted in the group’s threats that they would kill the five captured soldiers.
The source reported on the Defense Ministry-based September 26 news website that the five officers were sent to study military sciences in Syria. They were taken captive when they were returning to Yemen after finishing their bachelor’s degrees. They lost contact with their families when they were driving from Aleppo to Damascus in preparation for their return to Yemen.
The source said that Yemeni Defense, Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed, assigned a committee to contact and coordinate with official and nonofficial authorities in Syria, as well as contacting the International Committee of the Red Cross and other concerned international organizations to secure the release of the detainees.