venerdì 15 agosto 2014

Dad of aid worker kidnapped in Syria pleads for her release

Says he tried to convince his daughter to remain in Italy

(ANSA) - Milan, August 12 - The father of an Italian woman kidnapped while volunteering in Syria issued a plea for her release Tuesday, reminding her captors that she went to their country to help. Salvatore Marzullo issued his plea through the weekly Oggi magazine on newsstands Wednesday. Vanessa Marzullo 21, and Greta Ramelli, 20, were kidnapped in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo. The two women had only been in Syria since July 28 and were working on health and water-related humanitarian aid projects, Italy's foreign ministry has said. "Those who made Vanessa and Greta prisoners should remember what they were there to do," Salvatore Marzullo told the magazine. "They wanted to do good and it would be a tragedy if someone responded with evil," he added.

The foreign ministry said last week that its crisis unit was active on the ground trying to secure the release of the two women. Salvatore Marzullo said he was also hurt by cruel remarks made by some who have questioned why the young women went to such a dangerous spot and risked getting into trouble. "It made me sick these days to read and listen to comments from people who describe them as careless," he said. "Vanessa is just the opposite. She is a girl who is deep and who identifies with the suffering of others and cannot stand by wringing her hands".

Salvatore Marzullo said he tried to convince his daughter not to go into a war zone, but rather to help by creating a refugee aid foundation near their home in Brembate, a town of just over 8,000 residents about 35 kilometers northeast of Milan. For now, he is waiting for news from Italy's foreign ministry as is the family of Greta Ramelli in Gavirate, 60 kilometers northwest of Milan.

In recent days, Lapo Pistelli, junior foreign affairs minister, said that the Italian government is "on the trail of the kidnappers". Ramelli and Marzullo were kidnapped in the Eli Ismo area west of Aleppo while they were guests in the house of the local "head of the revolutionary council," Jordanian newspaper Assabeel has reported. The two were allegedly abducted along with Daniele Rainieri, a reporter for Italian daily Il Foglio, by a group that has kidnapped several foreign journalists and volunteers, Assabeel said. The reporter managed to escape, however, and raised the alarm. Marzullo and Ramelli founded the Horryaty Project, bringing medical assistance to Syria, and have volunteered in Africa and India in the past. 

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