Families of kidnapped Lebanese block traffic downtown

Published Monday, April 22, 2013

The families of nine Lebanese being held by an armed group in Syria briefly blocked a road outside the Turkish Cultural Center in downtown Beirut Monday, the latest move to secure the release of the hostages.

The family members and their supporters pitched a tent in the center of the road where they held photographs of their loved ones taken hostage in northern Syria last May, causing heavy traffic for about 30 minutes until security forces intervened.

Last week army soldiers attacked some of the relatives who tried to force their way into the Turkish embassy near Beirut.

They accuse Turkey of playing a role in their relatives' detention and have vowed to continue targeting Turkey's interests in Lebanon until the men are released.

An armed group seized 11 men on 22 May 2012 as they travelled by bus through Syria on their way back from a pilgrimage in Iran. Two have since been released.

The families threatened to shut down the Beirut airport if the remaining captives are not released within a month, which will mark the one-year anniversary of their kidnapping.

(Al-Akhbar)

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