11 abducted Iranian pilgrims released in Syria
AP, Wednesday 8 Feb 2012

Iran's state media say kidnappers have released 11 Iranian pilgrims who were recently abducted in Syria. It was the latest in a string of reported kidnappings of Iranians amid Syria's turmoil.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted Wednesday by IRAN daily as saying the 11 were released after the "help of friendly and influential countries in the region." The report didn't elaborate.
IRNA news agency says the 11 crossed into neighboring Turkey after their release.

Iranians regularly visit Syria — Iran's closest ally in the Arab world — to pay homage to Shiite holy shrines. In most cases so far, abducted Iranians have been released unharmed. It's unclear if ransom payments were involved. More than a dozen Iranians remain in the hands of kidnappers in Syria.