A German aid organization has announced that three employees who have been missing for 45 days in Syria have been kidnapped. The aid group helps with infrastructure reconstruction and health care.
The organization, Grünhelme, released a statement on its website saying three men who had been working in Syria have been missing since May 15, when they were kidnapped in the town of Harem in the Idlib district near the northern border with Turkey.
The three men were identified in the Grünhelme statement as an industrial mechanic, a carpenter and a 72-year-old engineer who had only been in Syria a few days.
In the weeks since the kidnapping, the organization has been working with Germany's Foreign Ministry and the federal criminal police office to locate the missing men. They have also been in contact with Germany's Syrian ex-pat community but have been unable to find out anything about the kidnappers or their colleagues.
Call for help
Grünhelme's statement called on "the institutions of our state, the head of the Foreign Ministry and the chancellor, but also the UN and EU institutions to do everything they can by contacting the Syrian opposition as well as Damascus to find out the location of the captives and to secure their release."
The statement was signed by the organization's founder, Rupert Neudeck.
He also said the group was surprised at the German media's silence on the issue, adding that "we can no longer remain silent."
Grünhelme is a nonprofit organization based near Bonn that has been working in Syria to rebuild areas destroyed by the civil war that has been going on for more than two years. They have been active in the northern part of the country.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 people have died in the conflict since it began.
mz/tm (AFP, AP, dpa)