A Syrian airstrike today reportedly killed three Iranian hostages being held by Syrian rebels. . . the dead Iranians are part of a group of 48 Iranians captured by the rebels on August 4 . . . the rebels claim the Iranians are associated with the Iranian revolutionary guard; Tehran says they are religious pilgrims who planned to visit a Shiite shrine in Damascus . . . Syrian rebels have threatened to kill the rest of the hostages unless government forces cease their attacks . . . it is uncertain whether the Iranians are actually pilgrims . . . this incident will raise Iranian tensions with Arab states and the West over the Syrian crisis since Tehran is accusing these states of arming the Syrian rebels . . . Free Syrian Army officials probably do not have control of the Iranian hostages and will seek to prevent them from being executed because of the harm this would do to the rebel’s reputation, especially with the West.
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