Syrian "rebels" abducted in Lebanon amid clashes in Damascus
Members of a powerful clan in Lebanon announced Wednesday they had abducted several Syrian rebels in retaliation for the abduction of one of their relatives by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Damascus. According to Maher al Meqdad, a clan member, more than 20 Syrians were nabbed during Tuesday night in Lebanon, including a former army lieutenant, who defected to join the ranks of the opposition.
People who were not members of the FSA have been released, he said. The clan demanded the release of Hassan al Meqdad, who was kidnapped two days ago in Damascus by the FSA. The rebels accuse him of having been sent to Syria by Lebanon's Hizbullah, an ally of Assad. Maher al Meqdad rejected those accusations, saying that Hassan al Meqdad arrived in Syria before the start of the uprising against the regime launched in mid-March 2011.
Meanwhile, according to AFP, shots were heard Wednesday afternoon near the building housing the offices of the Prime Minister in Damascus. A shootout was reported between soldiers and rebels in the area of al-Mazze, near the offices of the Prime Minister and a new building under construction near the Iranian embassy.