Free Syrian Army Abducts 16 Lebanese Shiite Pilgrims in Aleppo


The rebel Free Syrian Army on Tuesday abducted 16 Lebanese men in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo who were on their way back from a pilgrimage trip to Iran.

“Buses belonging to the Badr al-Kobra and Jannat al-Redwan pilgrimage campaigns were ambushed in Aleppo shortly after crossing the Syrian-Turkish border,” al-Jadeed television reported.

A woman who was in the convoy told al-Jadeed: “After we crossed the Turkish-Syrian border, we were ambushed by gunmen from the Free Syrian Army in the Azzaz area. They forced the men to dismount the buses and took them to an unknown destination and left us there.”

Al-Jadeed said women headed to a Syrian police station and that policemen reassured them that they have started negotiations with the kidnappers.

State-run National News Agency put the number of those abducted at 16 while Syrian media said an "armed terrorist gang" had kidnapped 11 Lebanese and their Syrian driver.

NNA identified the 16 abductees as Abbas Shoaib, Hassan Mahmoud, Mehdi Ballout, Hussein al-Siblani, Ali Abbas, Abu Ali Saleh, Hussein Omar, Mustafa Yassine, Ali Zgheib, Awad Ibrahim, Mohammed Monzer, Hussein Arzouni, Ali al-Ahmar, Ali Safa, Rabih Zgheib and Ali Termos.

"My two brothers-in-law were among about 12 people kidnapped by the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo as they were heading back to Beirut on board a bus after visiting religious sites in Iran," said one man who refused to give his name.

"The women who were with them were allowed to go free," he told Agence France Presse.

The man was among family members of those detained and hundreds of supporters who gathered on Tuesday afternoon in the Beirut southern suburb of Bir al-Abed to demand their release.

Meanwhile, protesters blocked roads in the Beirut southern suburbs of al-Kafaat, Bir al-Abed, Shatila and al-Msharrafiyeh in protest at the kidnap.

Roads were later reopened after Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah urged calm in a televised speech and called on protesters to leave the streets.

The brother of one of those kidnapped said the Free Syrian Army had vowed to release the men in exchange for FSA members detained by Syrian authorities.

Prime Minister Najib Miqati’s office said he was making the necessary contacts to ensure the release of the Lebanese abducted.

"Prime Minister Miqati has urged families of the kidnapped to remain calm and assured them he was following the issue closely to ensure the safety of those kidnapped and their quick release," a statement said.

One man who refused to give his name said his two bothers-in-law were among those abducted.

"They were heading back to Beirut on board a bus after visiting religious sites in Iran," said the man. "The women who were with them were allowed to go free."

The brother of Abbas Shaayb, who organized the pilgrimage, said the women were staying in a hotel in Aleppo.

"Let's see what the friends of the Free Syrian Army in Lebanon are going to do now," said the man, referring to the Sunni-led opposition in Lebanon that has backed the 14-month uprising in neighboring Syria.

The reported kidnappings were sure to further inflame sectarian tensions in Lebanon over the Syrian crisis.

Clashes between the pro- and anti-Assad camps in the country have left some 12 people dead in the past 10 days.

Nasrallah said it was necessary for all Lebanese to remain calm.

"The atmosphere is tense because of the events of recent days," he said. "Everyone is urged not to make matters worse."

Comments 39
Thumb jcamerican over 10 years

Now what? I guess if you don't go to the fight, it will come to you.

Thumb geha over 10 years

this must really feel bad! :)
for years the syrian regime has been abducting our guys, and m8 were happy about it, and now ...:)
life is a bitch, is'nt it m8? what goes around comes around...
although I am against any abduction of any lebanese citizen.

Default-user-icon NoName (Guest) over 10 years

'Pilgrims', yeah right.

More Hezbollah mercenaries, hopefully about to meet a just and well deserved end.

Missing peace over 10 years

yes, perfect perfect that it is even suspicious

Default-user-icon ghassan (Guest) over 10 years

Hizballah will very soon order the kidnapping of some Syrian refugees to trade.

Thumb cedar over 10 years

They are trying to drag Lebanon into this war by making the different religion factions fight each other.
I hope the Lebanese are smart enough and ignor stupid provocative actions, look at the bigger picture and resist Lebanon from going into the new evil plan for the middle east by staying peacefull!

Thumb benzona over 10 years

No cedar, the Lebanese aren't smart enough to avoid it. Let's be honest, the non-shias have been living with a constant threat since 7 may. Opportunities will be seized for sure...

Missing realist over 10 years

not to mention the assasination of hariri and the 4 suspects being free under our nose.

Default-user-icon throw (Guest) over 10 years

throw the politicians in the sea

Thumb primesuspect over 10 years

Injustice is really bad indeed. At least, thanks to the FSA, syria will be a shia-free country, it's fortunate for them because we saw what they did and keep doing to lebanon.

Default-user-icon 21west (Guest) over 10 years

And how do we know this is not another plot by the syrian government to drag us into his war? these could easily be syrian soldiers posing as free syrian army... all it takes is good acting... we know well how machiavelic assad is!! and we have enough stupid people who would fall into this trap and start fighting

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) over 10 years

and what about my pilgrimage to the cedars

Thumb thepatriot over 10 years

Correct! Another farce!

Default-user-icon Tipper (Guest) over 10 years

It's time to kidnap 36 Saudi tourists from Maameltein.

Missing allouchi over 10 years

If they are innocent, then they should be let go ASAP but if proven without a shadow of a doubt that they are supporting the butcher Assad then...bye bye ya helween...

Missing marounlebz over 10 years

Who the hell cares? The FSA should take all shites in lebanon to syria and there they can fight as much as they like. Lebanon is christian.

Missing roy_ashrafiyeh over 10 years

Yeslam timmak for daring to say it like it is.

Missing ulpianus over 10 years

The most IQ free comment of the day.

Missing Perestroika over 10 years

No Maroun No Lebanon is not Christian! Lebanon is multicultural!
Lebnen houwi l tanawo3 wel 2ekhtilef l 7adari! Lebnen houwi 7oriyet l mo3ta2ad wel sa2afi!
Lebnen houwi l 3esh l mochtarak ya Maroun!
Haydi reseltak ka masi7i moch l 7e2ed wel ta3assob w l raj3iyi!

Missing marounlebz over 10 years

Perestorika, ghasbin 3annak w ghasbin 3ann immak lebanon is christian land.

Missing Perestroika over 10 years

Emmi twafit alla yer7ama ya Maroun!
bta3rif maroun bisara7a ma3essabtni bass be2ssaf (3am be7kik bi sara7a) la ayya daraji sar fi jehel 3enna bel balad!!!
ye3ni aw2at b2oul la shou et3azab w ektob comment la7ata sehim bi jame3 l shamel lama ble2i raddak hall2ad khali men l laye2a wel fehem, lama ble2i hal2ad jehel w ta3asob!!!

Missing marounlebz over 10 years

Slash 99% of them are. Any so called christian who gets offended by the FACT that lebanon is a christian land is not a christian!!!

Thumb jcamerican over 10 years

Are you sure it is not jewish land? I didn't see any christians ran to help you when you were being slaughtered.

Missing kiserwaniaseel over 10 years

well said....

Default-user-icon DCNZogh (Guest) over 10 years

Tell Hariri order his FSA comrade thugs to release these innocents or he won't send them anymore guns.

Default-user-icon Floridian (Guest) over 10 years

The timing of the incident is too perfect to be just a conincidence with whats's already going on in Lebanon. I am glad that the leaders of those idiots on the streets called them to go home and stop the rallies.

Missing ulpianus over 10 years

As Many are saying, it is clear that we are being dragged into a shia/sunni strife.

However, Lebanon and it´s people as a whole will not be dragged into this. The reaction of most politicians is calming which is a good thing.

I think the most usefull thing to happen now would be holding the border with Syria, which would need a miracle to happen I know.

Another Miracle needing issue is Beirut. declear it a weaponfree city. Hizb. Would benefit from it. Move out all your weopons and put them in the south.

Work on the same thing for Tripoli later ( with the credibility gained by declaring (and implementing) Beirut a weaponfree city).

Thumb beiruti over 10 years

If true, this is outrageous. The FSA should not be in the business of kidnapping, much less kidnapping unarmed pilgrims. It is supposed to be a defensive military body. There is nothing defensive about bringing harm to innocent pilgrims.

In fact, it is offensive and stunts like this can cost the FSA and the Syrian Opposition its credibility and legitimacy.

Missing realist over 10 years

I guess kidnapping Syrians in lebanon, including ones leaving the airport, returning activists to syria to face death will from now on come with a price. What goes around comes around.

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) over 10 years

why the media is inflaming retoric between sunni and shia? if naharnet dont know that the free syrian army has nothing to do with this problem , then u are not following the news or like aoun ur job is to inflame the rift between sunni/shia, u think it will help u at the end?

Missing ulpianus over 10 years

For all the peaceloving people out there spread this article out:

IF you have a more trustable source please share it.

Missing ulpianus over 10 years

Slash and FT seems you are after each other like a married old couple.


Missing peace over 10 years

it could also be a scenario from the syrian gvt to sow chaos in lebanon... The FSA is asking for an exchange of their members in jail against these poor lebanese.
but it could also be a lie by assad ...who knows?

Default-user-icon Firas (Guest) over 10 years

so much hatred in all the comments...
i wonder where it all went wrong with this new generation...
i don't blame you, i blame your parents...
your parents were obviously traumatized from the civil war and not smart enough or brave enough to understand what went wrong so they were not able to raise you right...
Shame on your parents...

Missing ulpianus over 10 years


It could be as you said. With the link I meant to show exactly what you said. It could be anyone.

Travel ban to Syria would be more than wellcomed. Question is if there is any interest from the government or any other political group to issue such a ban.

Thumb kanaandian over 10 years

My take: Syrian regime kidnapped these Shiites to inflame sectarian tensions in Lebanon. They could use Hezbollah's firepower against the Sunnites right now while they still have a chance.

Default-user-icon nn (Guest) over 10 years

Pilgrim my Ash

Default-user-icon trueself (Guest) over 10 years

It's unfair to accuse the Syrian free army of kidnapping because they have denied it. The Assad regime has every reason to flair the situation in Lebanon to deflect attention from his regime's weakness. This regime was doing this incessantly in lebanon during the civil war and is expert at conniving the truth.

Missing antigovsyrians over 10 years

1. For years Hizbollah kidnapped people and kept them in misery for years. Now they are frowning over 13 so-called pilgrims. They are far from it they are Hizbullah fighters.

2. When Hizbullah sends fighters to Syria they are meddling in Syrian affairs. They are killing innocent syrians in Homs Idlib Hama ...etc. The Lebanese government is held accountable and responsible for the actions of Hizbullah. The same way it was responsible and accountable for Fatah actions in 30 years ago.

3. If the Lebanese government is scared to enforce its legitimacy over Hizbullah, then this government should resign immediately.

4. We free Syrians, are both Syrians and Lebanese citizenship. Hizbullah wants us harm we do its citizens harm. Bashar and Nasrallah will go down even if we have to start a second civil war in Lebanon which is coming soon.