Syrian regime issues ultimatum to Lebanon kidnappers - reports

Published April 2nd, 2013 - 10:24 GMT
Syrian army tanks in Deraa province
Syrian army tanks in Deraa province

The Syrian regime has given the kidnappers of eight Syrian Alawi workers until midnight Tuesday to hand over their hostages, threatening to destroy the region of Wadi Khaled in north Lebanon if its demands aren’t met, residents told The Daily Star.

“The Syrian regime gave the kidnappers until midnight to hand over the eight Syrian hostages to the Syrian authorities or else they will completely destroy Wadi Khaled,” a resident of Wadi Khaled told The Daily Star by telephone.

The resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the flyers were distributed in Wadi Khaled.

Lebanon President Michel Sleiman denounced the recent wave of tit-for-tat kidnappings as an act against Lebanese traditions and urged security forces to exert extra efforts to secure the release of the hostages.

“We denounce the kidnappings that have been carried out by gangs, it is against Lebanese customs,” Sleiman told a delegation from the Jaafar clan.

“The law must prevail and so must coexistence,” Sleiman stressed.

Gunmen kidnapped eight Syrian Alawi workers in Wadi Khaled, near the border with Syria, Monday in order to exchange them for a Lebanese man held by Syrian authorities, a security source told The Daily Star.

The masked gunmen from the Lebanese al-Ahmad tribe snatched the Syrians after they crossed into the village of Bqayaa in Wadi Khaled by bus, and took them to an undisclosed location, the source added.

The tribe hails from the mostly Sunni Wadi Khaled region of Hisheh.

Later, the tribe said they were ready to free the eight in exchange for the release of Ahmad Mahmoud al-Ahmad, who has been held by Syrian authorities for more than year.


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