Sunday, July 22, 2012

Abducted Lebanese well, but will stay in custody - Syria rebel commander

(Reuters) - A Syrian rebel commander told Reuters on Sunday that 11 kidnapped Lebanese Shi'ites are staying in air-conditioned rooms and are in good health but will not be released until President Bashar al-Assad leaves power and a new parliament is elected.

"Their health is good and they're fine and they're eating and drinking well, staying in a farm with full comfort and air conditioning, and they're alive," Abu Omar, commander of the Storm of the North brigade, told Reuters at the Bab al-Salam border crossing with Turkey, which his men had overrun on Sunday.

The Lebanese hostages were on a bus that was stopped by gunmen on May 22 as it crossed into northern Syria from Turkey on its way home from a pilgrimage to Iran. The gunmen released the women and kept the men.

Abu Omar said the men were senior members of Hezbollah, the armed Lebanese Shi'ite political group that supports Assad.

"(They) are from Hezbollah, their fate will be decided by the new Syrian parliament, because Hezbollah attacked us and is helping the Syrian regime," he said. Read More