Syrian rebels release Lebanese hostage

Syrian rebels release Lebanese hostage

PanARMENIAN.Net - Syrian rebels released a Lebanese hostage on Saturday, Aug 25, who was among a group of Lebanese Shi'ite pilgrims kidnapped after crossing into Syria from Turkey in May.

According to Reuters, a rebel source said the release of Hussein Omar, the first hostage to be freed, was a "goodwill gesture".

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he received a call from Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirming the release of Omar.

"(Mikati) wished that Turkish authorities will continue its efforts to release all the kidnapped Lebanese in Syria as soon as possible," a statement from Mikati's office said.

Turkey has strong ties with the Syrian opposition, and most of the leadership of the rebel group the Free Syrian Army is based in Turkey. It also shelters army defectors and allows foreign funds and weapons to reach rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, according to several sources.

Al Jazeera news channel showed footage of Omar crossing on foot into Turkey accompanied by three men and carrying a small bag. It quoted him as saying he was well treated and he urged Arabs to support the revolt against Assad.

The kidnapping of the Shi'ite pilgrims inflamed tension in Lebanon, a country divided between friends and foes of the Syrian armed revolt against Assad.

The kidnapping, with the abduction of another Shi'ite man this month in Syria, triggered abductions of Syrian activists in Lebanon in retaliation.

It revived memories of Lebanon's own civil war, reinforcing fears that the Syria conflict could trigger more instability in Lebanon, where Damascus has had a major influence over politics and security for decades.

 Top stories
A Syrian source said Aleppo was excluded from truces “because there are terrorists there who haven’t stopped hitting the city.”
Fighting around Aleppo has become the biggest threat to the fragile cessation of hostilities that went into force on Feb. 27.
The Armenian Defense Ministry is providing the CSTO leadership with full information about the clashes along the line of contact.
The White House has been increasingly outspoken in recent months about threats to free speech and democracy in Turkey.
Partner news