Families of Abducted Soldiers Up in Arms at 'Government Failure to Resolve Case'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Families of soldiers abducted by the Islamic State group briefly blocked a main road in Downtown Beirut demanding knowing the fate of their sons after more than three years in the Islamic State group's captivity.
The relatives blocked the Banks Road in Riad al-Solh and demanded that “Prime Minister Saad Hariri come down to the street to negotiate with them.”
The protesters stressed that they “will not leave the streets until the government discloses the fate of their sons.”
Expressing frustration with the government’s failure to uncover the fate of their sons, Hussein Youssef, the main spokesman for the families and father of one of nine servicemen held hostage since 2014, angrily said: “Our protest today is only symbolic. Do not pressure us to block the streets again.”
"Our sons did not defect from the military institution,” he stressed.
The protesters said that a mediator has notified them that he needs an official authorization from the Lebanese government to negotiate with the abductors, but no response from the government was received as yet.
The families reopened the road after a brief block.
The Islamic State group and al-Nusra Front, which re-branded itself as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in July when it split from the al-Qaida movement, abducted over 30 servicemen in clashes with the Lebanese army in the northeastern border town of Arsal in August 2014.
Sixteen held by the Jabhat Fateh al-Islam were freed in December last year through a Qatari-mediated deal that also included a prisoner swap to release a number of inmates from Lebanese jails.
The two groups had previously executed four of the hostages.
Nine hostages are still being held by the IS and their families do not know much about their fate.