Frustration Grows among Relatives of Hostages after Hizbullah Fighter Freed in Swapإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The families of the Lebanese soldiers and policemen taken captive by jihadists four months ago warned the authorities they would take escalatory measures starting Friday morning to press the authorities to negotiate faster.
The relatives warned they could block all of Beirut's entrances, a day after Hizbullah managed to secure the release of one of its fighters who had been in the custody of Syrian groups in the mountains of the Qalamun region near Lebanon's border.
Imad Ayyad was released in exchange for two gunmen who were in Hizbullah custody, the party announced on Tuesday.
Frustration among the families of the soldiers and police, who were taken hostage when militants overran the northeastern border town of Arsal in August, grew after learning about Ayyad's release in a prisoner swap.
“Let no one blame us for our moves,” said one of the protesters at Beirut's Riad al-Solh square.
“Hizbullah is not stronger than the state for being able to set free its captive,” he said.
The relatives of the captured men have surrounded Prime Minister Tammam Salam's office, the Grand Serail, with protest tents, demanding the government negotiate faster.
“There are no results on the ground. We are not seeing serious efforts by the government,” said another relative.
A female protester addressed Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, pleading him to bring home the captives the same way he did with the Hizbullah hostage.
Last Monday, the relatives of the soldiers burned tires and blocked several roads after they said Islamic State group extremists threatened to kill their sons.
The jihadists from the IS and al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front have already executed three of the hostages.