‘Any Turk in Beirut’ target for us, kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims’ families threaten
Members of the Internal security forces sit outside the Turkish Airlines offices in downtonw Beirut on August 12, 2013. Turkey has closed its cultural centre and commercial office in Beirut after the kidnap of two Turkish Airlines pilots, Ankara's ambassador to Lebanon told AFP. AFP photoThe families of abducted Lebanese Shiite pilgrims in Syria have threatened to kidnap any Turkish national in Beirut to protest the detention of their relatives.
“Any Turkish citizen in the southern suburbs and the city of Beirut is a target for [kidnapping] by the families of the Lebanese hostages,” Hayat Awali, a spokesperson for the families of the hostages, told reporters Aug. 12. The families of the nine Lebanese pilgrims, who were returning from a trip to Iran when they were kidnapped in Syria last year, have called repeatedly for the release of their relatives. They accuse Turkey of not doing enough to win the release of their relatives.
“It has been proven to us that the detention of [Mohammad Saleh] is a political move by the Information Branch and a gift from them to Turkey,” Awali said. “Therefore, and in response to that, a large group of the families of the hostages in Azaz are heading to the streets of Beirut and any Turk seen there will be kidnapped,” she added, according to Lebanese media.
Saleh was arrested Aug. 11 on charges of having links to the kidnappers of two Turkish Airlines pilots who were abducted on Aug. 9 near the Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport.