MSF says 5 staff members 'taken by group' in north Syria
Published Friday 03/01/2014 (updated) 04/01/2014 17:06
A Syrian man helps an injured man following an airstrike in Aleppo's
Maadi neighborhood on Dec. 17, 2013 (AFP/File Mohammed al-Khatieb)
BEIRUT (AFP) -- Five staffers from Doctors without Borders (MSF) have been taken from a house in northern Syria by an unknown group, the medical humanitarian group said Friday.
"MSF confirms that five members of its staff were taken yesterday night from an MSF house in the north of Syria by a group, apparently for questioning," spokeswoman Samantha Maurin said in a statement.
It was unclear who had taken the staff members, and MSF declined to release details about the five employees or where exactly they had been taken from.
"MSF is in contact with all the appropriate actors as well as the families of the colleagues and is doing everything possible to reestablish contact with these colleagues," Maurin said.
MSF has six hospitals and four health centers in northern Syria and provides health support from neighboring countries to within Syria as well as to Syrian refugees.
In September 2013, a Syrian surgeon working for the group was killed in the north of the country, and aid workers operating in rebel-held parts of Syria have faced detention and kidnappings.
In October, seven employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross were kidnapped in northwestern Idlib province, with a Syrian NGO blaming the abduction on the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
ISIL has been accused of targeting both foreign and Syria journalists as well as aid workers and activists for kidnapping.