ROME Dec 17 An Italian and two other workers at
a steel plant near Syria's main port city of Latakia have been
kidnapped, Italy's foreign ministry said in a statement on
A ministry official told Reuters they were kidnapped in
Tartus, the country's second largest port and about 90 km (56
miles) from Latakia but, in order to protect them, he declined
to provide any further details.
Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said in the statement that he
was working with "all the facilities of the state involved" to
ensure the release of the kidnapped Italian.
Italian daily papers La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera
said that the two others kidnapped were Russians. They named the
Italian as 63-year-old engineer Mario Belluomo, who they said
worked at the Syrian-owned Hmisho steel plant.
Interfax news agency quoted Sergei Markov, a spokesman for
Russian Embassy in Syria, as saying the embassy was checking
media reports of the abduction.
The Russian foreign ministry declined a request to comment.
Syria's 21-month civil war has claimed at least 40,000
lives. Italy is among several countries to have recognised
opposition forces, fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.