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A Syrian insurgent group has released a video claiming they are holding seven Iranian citizens hostage and calling for the government to release a rebel army officer and cease military operations in Homs.

The Farouq Battalion released the video showing seven unshaved men in black shirts sitting against a wall.

The insurgents identified five of the men as Iranian Army soldiers and the men shown in the video resembled photos of missing Iranians posted by Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency.

The rebels claimed the two other hostages were Iranian civilians.

Homs has been the center of a growing insurgency against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed in the violence since March.

Compiled from agency reports
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