Al-Ahmed Returns to Wadi Khaled, Four Abductees Freed Upon His Arrival

Posted on: June 13, 2012 at 00:42
Lebanese abductee Suleiman al-Ahmed was released by Syrian authorities on Tuesday and returned to the northern town of Wadi Khaled, where town dignitaries and officials celebrated his release.

At the courtyard of al-Hisheh municipality, heavy celebratory gunfire erupted as al-Ahmed arrived at his hometown where he was welcomed by a mass rally.

From a platform carrying President Michel Suleiman’s photograph, al-Ahmed said that “entire Wadi Khaled is wanted by the Syrian regime and I thank the brothers from the Alawite and Shiite sects who contributed to freeing me.”

Speaking to MTV station, the abductee assured he was “tortured by his abductors in Syria,” pointing out that physical marks are clearly showing on his face, arms and legs.

Al-Ahmed was abducted on Sunday from Akkar valley into the Syrian territory. Following the incident, gunmen abducted four Syrian Alawites along the border with Syria.

The four abductees were freed in Akkar after the release of al-Ahmed, while town residents stressed out that “they were visitors.”

A tired-looking abductee told LBC after his release that “we were treated like guests, and they’ve been kind to us.”

Al-Ahmed arrived to the headquarters of the Higher Lebanese-Syrian Council, at the Masnaa border crossing, and was later transferred to the Ablah army barracks for investigation.

The abductee was released after his hometown residents released Hikmat Youssef, an Alawite citizen who was taken hostage along with several other people over al-Ahmed’s abduction.

Youssef was released on Monday from Wadi Khaled “as a good will gesture,” after efforts by the dignitaries and municipality chiefs of Akkar.

The tit-for-tat abductions occurred in the Wadi Khaled border region between the two countries, where tensions have run high between supporters and opponents of the regime in Syria, the sources said.
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