Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Incarcerated since May of 2012, families growing restive over loved ones

Nine Lebanese men, taken hostage in Syria, have remained in custody since May of last year. The families of the men have grown agitated, calling for boycotts of Turkish products and sealing shut the Turkish Airlines office in Beirut in protest. "No one is doing anything to secure their release, and we hold Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia responsible for the situation," a brother of one of the detainees says.

A group known as the Azaz Northern Storm Brigade, which controls most of the Aleppo region along the Turkish border has claimed responsibility for the abductions.

A group known as the Azaz Northern Storm Brigade, which controls most of the Aleppo region along the Turkish border has claimed responsibility for the abductions.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Hostages, Lebanon, Syria, Shia, Iran, media, A group known as the Azaz Northern Storm Brigade


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The families of the nine Lebanese Shia pilgrims abducted by the Free Syrian Army have begun to take matters into their own hands. The families have staged a protest outside the Qatari embassy, accusing the Gulf state of being complicit in the kidnapping and detention of their loved ones in Syria.

The ordeal began when dozens of Lebanese men and women were travelling by bus through Syria on their way back to Lebanon from a Shia pilgrimage in Iran on May 22, 2012. After crossing the Turkish border into the Aleppo district, the bus was ambushed by two dozen armed men, who forced the passengers to dismount at gunpoint.

After removing 11 of the men, they told Hayat Awali, the woman leading the pilgrimage, to report the kidnapping at the nearest police station.

"They said they would hold the men hostage to exchange them for two Syrians currently in Syrian prison," Awali told Al Jazeera. "They said because we are Shia we can get Hezbollah to pressure the Syrian government.

"They never accused us of being members of Hezbollah, but just that we are from the same sect."

In protest, residents of Beirut's southern suburbs took to the streets, burning tires and blocking roads. Government officials and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah appealed for calm, asking all residents to go home.

Information leaked out that the pilgrims would be released via Turkey, and that former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri had commissioned his private plane to fly them to Lebanese soil later the same day. The kidnappers then changed their minds.

A group known as the Azaz Northern Storm Brigade, which controls most of the Aleppo region along the Turkish border has claimed responsibility for the abductions. 

The group's leader, Abu Ibrahim accused the hostages of "suspicious activities" around Aleppo, refusing to release them.

"They are not members of Hezbollah . They kidnapped my brother because he is Shia, and that's it," a family member said.

"What they have done is affecting us, the families; not Hezbollah, and not the Lebanese government," said Shoaib. "My mother is now in hospital every few days because of this."

The group has played a "cat and mouse" game with the local media, announcing the release of the hostages within days - only to break off the agreement when the time draws nigh.

Two of the original 11 hostages have been released, but so far there have been no indications the others will be set free anytime soon.

.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Middle East

Suffering, dying in silence: Syrian Christians face arduous holy week Watch

Image of Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, with many suffering and dying in silence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The assassination of Dutch Jesuit Fr. Frans van der Lugt, shot to death by an unknown assailant at his base in Homs, Syria on April 7 has cast a pall for the faithful here. Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a ... continue reading


Asia Bibi remains in prison, reluctant officials hide behind bureaucracy Watch

Image of Asia Bibi remains in prison, judges unwilling to take up her case for fear of violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman facing death for blasphemy in Pakistan still sits in a women's prison her case held up by deliberate delays and a reluctance of judges and others to hear her case. Officials are afraid that they will become targets of Islamic ... continue reading


Dutch priest beaten, killed at his Syrian monastery Watch

Image of Father Frans van der Lugt was described as a man of great courage who

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dutch Jesuit priest, 75-year-old Frans van der Lugt was beaten and shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his monastery in Homs, Syria this week, the Vatican said. He had been living in Syria since the early Seventies. He's being described as man of great courage ... continue reading


Tunisian government strives to root out Islamist influence from Mosques Watch

Image of Tunisia's newly elected government, recognizing that one of the nation's chief sources of revenue is tourism, has wasted little time in quelling extremist factions there.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Tunisian authorities, along with the Islamist party Ennahda had clashed on several levels for any months. The conflict was felt on all strata of Tunisian society. Violence roiled in the streets, to the universities, in places of worship and private homes. ... continue reading


Syrian refugees in Lebanon passes one million mark Watch

Image of U.N. staff in Lebanon register 2,500 new Syrian refugees every day, the UNHCR said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Syria's devastating Civil War drags into its fourth year without an end in sight, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has officially passed the one million mark, the United Nations' refugee agency says. Syrian refugees now make up almost a quarter of ... continue reading


Meet Catholic Online's new Middle East correspondent Watch

Image of Kaci Racelma received his Bachelor of English literature in 1996. He has worked in the daily Algerian newspaper la Nouvelle République since 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Journalist Kaci Racelma has joined the Catholic Online family as a much needed and vaunted Middle East correspondent to our international news desk. We welcome his wealth of experience in relaying breaking stories in this complex part of the world.  LOS ... continue reading


Authorities break up kiddie sex abuse ring, 17-year-old pimp and several men arrested Watch

Image of Several hundred women in Israel - many of them foreigners - are trafficked within the country annually for commercial sexual exploitation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tel Aviv Police have arrested seven men in connection with a child molestation ring. An undercover investigation began after one of the purported victims came forward and told them about a number of girls who had sex with a group of adults in exchange for ... continue reading


New Saudi Arabian law defines atheists as 'terrorists' Watch

Image of Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report from Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists. King Abdullah has issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalizes "participating in hostilities outside the kingdom" with prison ... continue reading


Executions on the rise: United States among top five countries Watch

Image of The report does note that only a small number of countries, about one in 10, carry out executions, and 140 countries are against the death penalty either in law or actions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Executions for criminals for a variety of crimes has risen across the world. While the majority of these executions take place in the Middle East, the United States is among the top five nations that has experienced an uptick in capital punishment. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


LEFT INTACT: Lawrence of Arabia's remote hideaway found with many personal affects Watch

Image of Almost 100 years before T. E. Lawrence returned to civilian life, a secret desert camp used by him - under his more famous nom de plume of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Almost 100 years before T. E. Lawrence returned to civilian life, a secret desert camp used by him - under his more famous nom de plume of "Lawrence of Arabia" has been found intact. Located in modern-day Jordan, the encampment was still littered with spent ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 17th, 2014 Image

St. Anicetus
April 17: Anicetus was a Syrian from Emesa. He became pope about 155 and ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter