Suleiman Urges Syria to Release 2 Abducted near Border as Residents Block Road in Protest

Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 00:04
President Michel Suleiman urged the Syrian authorities on Thursday to release the two Lebanese farmers who were kidnapped a day earlier in the border region of al-Abboudiyeh as the Syrian army abducted another citizen later on Thursday.

The Syrian army kidnapped Yehya Mohammed Fleiti in the border town of Arsal on Thursday afternoon.

“The rise in the rate of kidnappings and killings along the Lebanese-Syrian border is rejected,” Suleiman said.

He urged the Lebanese and Syrian authorities to carry out the necessary investigations regarding the issue to “halt any recurrence.”

“Respecting Lebanon and Syria’s sovereignty falls in the best interest of the security and peace of both countries,” Suleiman said.

Scores of Lebanese border town residents on Thursday blocked off a road to Syria, protesting the kidnapping.

Protesters pitched tents and used sandbags to block the road linking Lebanon and Syria, demanding that Mohammed Yassin al-Merebi and Mahdi Hamdan be set free.

The two men were ''kidnapped by five armed men who crossed into Lebanon from across the Syrian border'' while they were working on the land, the National News Agency reported.

One of the men's relatives, Sohayb al-Rashid, told Agence France Presse that residents ''will continue protesting until the two men are set free. And if they are not set free soon, we will escalate our protests.''

''Contacts are being established with the Syrian side to get the two set free,'' Rashid added.

Protesters pitched a tent 700 meters from the border crossing into Syria at al-Abboudiyeh, which links north Lebanon to Homs in central Syria.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Syrian National Council accused the Syrian regime of ''escalating its breaches of the Lebanese borders (and of) increasing its armed attacks targeting Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees.''

The SNC also accused the Syrian regime of ''kidnapping Syrian wounded patients from hospitals'' in northern Lebanon, while also accusing ''the regime's mercenaries of setting up checkpoints inside Lebanese territory.''

The statement called for ''people kidnapped on Lebanese territory by mercenaries of the Syrian regime to be set free.''

Source:Agence France Presse Naharnet
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