New Delhi: Four Indians were arrested in Syria recently not because they had gone there to join and fight alongside the Islamic State but for entering the country without valid visa, the government clarified on Wednesday.
Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Walid Al Maoulem, during his visit to India in January, had said the four Indians had "crossed over from Jordan to Syria to join the Islamic State" and that they were under custody in Damascus.
Answering the question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, said that the Indians had entered Syria illegally from Jordan and were on their way to Lebanon for employment.
"Arun Kumar Saini, Sarvjeet Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Joga/Jagga Singh entered into Syria from Jordan on their way to Lebanon for employment without valid visa. They were caught by the Syrian authorities as illegal immigrants," he said.
He said that the Syrian authorities conveyed to New Delhi that they can be brought back to India, after making "necessary inquiries".
The Minister said officials from Indian Embassy in Damascus have met the four persons and modalities are being worked out to bring them back.