Syria’s Minister of Interior, General Ali Hammoud, affirmed to the representative of the International Human Rights Commission in Lebanon, Ali Aqil Khalil, that there were no Lebanese nationals in detention in Syria, according to a press statement on Friday.
The statement said Khalil visited Damascus and held talks with Hammoud regarding missing Lebanese who some claim are being held in Syrian prisons.
It said Hammoud expressed regret that there were those who tried to “distort” Syria’s image, Lebanon’s Daily Star reported Saturday.
Denying there are any Lebanese in Syrian jails, Hammoud noted the special committee under former Minister Fouad Saad that was entrusted with following up the issue.
“If there are those who went missing in Lebanon during the events (in reference to the civil war, which broke out in 1975) when the militia dominated certain Lebanese regions, why is it that some are trying to indicate they are in Syrian prisons?” Hammoud asked.
He said Damascus set free a large number of Lebanese throughout the years, the last release taking place after Syrian President Bashar Assad ascended to power.
“No Lebanese prisoners remain in Syrian jails because of their party, political or ideological affiliations or due to their opposition to Syrian presence in Lebanon,” he added. Hammoud said only those Lebanese who have committed a crime inside Syria are detained, “like any other criminal, local or foreign.” (Albawaba.com)