Girls walk down the street in the deserted neighbourhood of Sayyida Zeinab, near D Damascus
Some 48 Iranian pilgrims have been kidnapped from a bus in the vicinity of a shrine near the Syrian capital Damascus, reports say.
Iranian diplomats blamed the abduction, from close to the Shia shrine of Sayyida Zainab, on "armed groups".
Syrian state television later gave the same account of the incident, reports the BBC.
Meanwhile, fresh fighting has been reported around Damascus, and in the northern city of Aleppo, where rebels are trying to secure their positions.
The Iranian consul in Damascus said the whereabouts of the abducted pilgrims was known.
Syrian state-run news agency Sana said the Iranians had been kidnapped by "armed terrorist groups" and that Syrian authorities were "working to handle the situation".
Thousands of Iranians travel each year to Syria to visit the pilgrimage site in the mostly Shia district of Sayyida Zainab, which has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks.
There have been several other reports of groups of Iranian pilgrims being kidnapped in Syria in recent months, with most later being freed.
In May, 11 Lebanese Shia pilgrims were abducted in Syria while returning from Iran. The government announced three days after their capture that they had been released but there have since been conflicting reports in Lebanese media as to their whereabouts.
The incident sparked violence across Lebanon, where the crisis in Syria has heightened sectarian tensions.
Meanwhile, fresh fighting was reported in Syria's two biggest cities on Saturday.
Most areas of Aleppo where rebels are entrenched have been bombarded by government forces and clashes have been reported in several districts.
Video footage posted by activists showed a military jet flying over what they said was the rebel-held quarter of Salah al-Din followed by a loud explosion.
Activists reported clashes in several areas too, including around the officers' club and a political security headquarters.
Government forces seem to now be pushing harder in the crucial battle for Aleppo, the BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut reports.
Syrian state television reported that troops had inflicted huge losses on what it called "terrorist mercenaries" in Salah al-Din and in other nearby areas too, our correspondent adds.
Kim Sengupta of the UK's Independent newspaper earlier told the BBC from Aleppo that there are two front lines in the city, one in Salah al-Din and one near Aleppo's ancient iron gate.
There have been skirmishes in which rebels have done rather well, he says, seizing three police stations and retaking a fourth on Friday, and rebels are "incrementally" increasing the size of the area they hold.
The rebels have "remarkable" defence capability in Salah al-Din where government tanks had been trying to enter, but as an area full of narrow twisting lanes, it is perfect for guerrilla warfare, he adds.