Lebanese Clan Abducts Syrians, Turkish National
A clan in Lebanon has abducted a Turkish businessman and several Syrians it says are rebel fighters in retaliation for the kidnapping of one of their relatives by the rebel Free Syrian Army in Damascus.
More than 20 Syrians have been kidnapped by the Mokdad clan, said Maher al-Mokdad, a relative of Hassan al-Mokdad, the man he said was captured in Damascus two days ago by the Free Syrian Army, which is fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
In remarks to Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA), he said “the snowball would grow”, warning “Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey and their citizens”.
The apparent threat to kidnap nationals from countries backing the Syrian rebels quickly seems to have been realized. Among the hostages is a Turkish national, a diplomat in Lebanon said.
“He was here for business, arrived today, and was kidnapped near the airport,” the diplomat said, adding that there has been little progress so far in negotiations to secure the man’s release.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour contacted Hatem al-Mokdad, another brother of Hassan, requesting that the captors release Turkish national Toufan Teyken.
Mokdad refused the request, insisting that Teyken will remain a hostage until Hassan is freed by Syrian rebels across the border.
In a video broadcast by al-Mayadeen, a Lebanon-based TV station, two men identified as members of the FSA were shown in the custody of masked gunmen from the Mokdad clan in green fatigues and armed with automatic rifles.
One of the detainees identified himself as a captain by the name of Mohammed, who said his role was to help supply the FSA. The other said he was his assistant.
Maher al-Mokdad, speaking to Reuters, said the abductions were a response to the capture of Hassan al-Mokdad in Damascus two days ago by the FSA. The rebels had said Mokdad had been sent to Syria by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, one of Assad’s regional allies. Hezbollah denied Mokdad was a member of the party.
The detained Syrians included a lieutenant who deserted from the Syrian army to join the rebels, but those who were not FSA members had been freed, he said. He gave no details of how or where the men were abducted.
He said Mokdad went to neighboring Syria more than a year and a half ago – that is, before the outbreak of the 17-month-old uprising against Assad – and had no links to the fighting in Syria. … Full article
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