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Video: Syrian rebels say they will kill Iranian hostages

From the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:23 PM EDT, Fri October 5, 2012
In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war: In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war:
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Turkey's prime minister warns Syria against making a "deadly mistake"
  • Shelling continues in some cities Friday, is particularly heavy in Homs
  • Opposition says rebels shot down a Syrian plane that was shelling Damascus suburbs
  • United Nations condemns Syria's shelling of a border town in Turkey

(CNN) -- Syrian rebels said they will start executing a group of about 48 Shiite pilgrims from Iran if Tehran and Damascus do not comply with their demands, according to a video posted this week on YouTube.

The pilgrims were abducted in August.

In the video, a rebel officer -- dressed in camouflage and standing in front of what appears to be a group of hostages -- addresses the Iranian and Syrian governments.

The officer says his group has tried to negotiate with Syrian authorities for the hostages' release in exchange for that of rebels held in regime prisons, but those efforts failed "because of the reluctance of both the Iranian and Syrian regimes."

Children in a war-torn Syrian town hold school in a cave

Where the border clashes took place  Where the border clashes took place
Where the border clashes took placeWhere the border clashes took place
Rebels attack army barracks in Damascus
Turkey-Syria ties strained by violence
Turkish shells rain on Syria

Therefore, he continues, "Unless they start releasing our people from their prisons and cease the shelling of the innocent civilians in our cities and the ongoing random slaughter, within 48 hours, starting from the moment this statement is read, we inform you that for every martyr who gets killed by the Syrian regime, we will kill one of the Iranian hostages."

CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video.

In August, Iran's Foreign Ministry said it was working through diplomatic channels to free the hostages.

At least 127 people were killed by Syrian security forces across the country Friday, including 28 who died in Damascus and its suburbs, according to the Local Coordination Committees for Syria, a network of opposition activists.

In other developments:

Rebels shoot down a helicopter gunship and a jet, government opponents say

Rebel fighters shot down a Syrian helicopter gunship over the town of Saqba, outside Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based opposition human rights group, said Friday. The helicopter was taking part in a bombardment in the eastern Ghouta area, the group said.

Social media videos posted by Syrian activists Friday showed a helicopter falling from the sky in the eastern Ghouta area. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the videos.

Opposition fighters also reported shooting down a jet in Deir Ezzour province.

Shelling rages in some cities

Shelling continued in cities including Daraa, Homs, Aleppo and Hama on Friday, the LCC said.

In Homs, shelling resulted in a number of casualties, damaged homes and spread fires, the LCC said. Also, warplanes were firing on parts of the town of Marea, in northern Syria, the opposition group said. Marea is about 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Turkey.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian state TV both reported clashes between rebel fighters and regime forces in Aleppo, near an air force Intelligence unit.

A mortar shell fired from Syria landed in an empty field near the village of Yayladagi, in Hatay province, Turkish state TV TRT said Friday. There were no casualties and the Turkish military in the area responded immediately, the channel said.

U.N. still has no plan for Syria

Erdogan warns Damascus against making a "deadly mistake"

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Syria's shelling of a border town in Turkey on Wednesday, according to the semi-official Anadolu News Agency.

The shelling of the Turkish town of Akcakale resulted in the deaths of five civilians -- all of them women and children -- and nine injuries.

In a public appearance in Istanbul on Friday, Erdogan described Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's administration as having "ruthless," and warned against any repeat of violence.

"It would be a deadly mistake to test Turkey's deterrence, determination and capacity," he said.

Turkey responded to the Wednesday incident by shelling a Syrian military position.

Moscow mulls diplomatic moves

Russia hopes the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will visit Moscow soon, perhaps this month, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the state-run Itar-Tass news agency Friday.

"We believe the sooner we will take active politico-diplomatic steps in this direction, the sooner the bloodshed is ceased," he was quoted as saying.

Moscow has long backed al-Assad's regime and has blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Gennady Gatilov said on Twitter: "Everyone must be cautious in the #Syrian situation. Cross-border incidents resulting in escalation of the conflict are unacceptable."

Turkey and Syria: Why neither side wants war

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