Syrian state TV workers 'kidnapped'

Syrian state TV workers 'kidnapped'

A pro-government Syrian TV station said four of its employees have been kidnapped while on assignment in a suburb of the capital Damascus.

Imad Sarah, who is general manager of Al-Ikhbariya station, said the four were seized yesterday in al-Tal suburb north of Damascus by an armed group as they were covering events in the area.

The area has witnessed shelling and clashes between government troops and rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Al-Ikhbariya and other pro-government Syrian TV stations have often come under attack during the course of the 17-month uprising in the country.

A bomb blast struck the headquarters of Syrian state TV in Damascus this week, wounding several employees.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Turkey for talks with Turkish officials as well as Syrian opposition figures on how to undermine the Syrian regime and lay the groundwork for a democratic transition.

Mrs Clinton also plans to meet Syrian refugees in Istanbul during her visit as the US and allies boost humanitarian relief for civilians who have fled the civil war in Syria.

At least 51,000 Syrians are sheltering in neighbouring Turkey, and many more have sought refuge in Jordan and Lebanon.

Mrs Clinton’s Istanbul agenda includes talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Turkey is a fierce critic of Assad, and hosts Syrian activists working to overthrow him.

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