BEIRUT, December 18 - RAPSI. The Russian embassy in Damascus has confirmed that two Russian nationals and an Italian have been kidnapped in Syria, the embassy's press attache Sergei Markov told RIA Novosti.

"Two Russians, who were working in the country, have been kidnapped near Latakia. The embassy is actively involved in searching for them, in close cooperation with the local authorities. Together with the two Russian citizens, who were working in Syria for a private company, an Italian citizen was also kidnapped at the Tartous-Homs highway," Markov said.

Markov said that the circumstances behind the kidnapping are being investigated; in the interests of security other details are not being reported.

Italian TV channel Sky TG24 reported on Monday that two Russians and an Italian had been kidnapped by unknown individuals in Syria. The Italian Foreign Ministry had previously said that three employees of a steelworks, including Italian engineer Mario Belliomo, had been kidnapped not far from Latakia. Other details behind the incident have not been made public yet.