Nasrallah Urges Calm over Kidnap of Lebanese in Syria, Says in Contact with Key Regional Statesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah urged restraint on Tuesday after a group of Shiite Muslim Lebanese men were kidnapped by rebels in Syria while returning home from a pilgrimage in Iran.
"I call on everyone to show restraint," Nasrallah said in televised address after protesters blocked roads in Beirut’s southern suburbs to condemn the kidnap operation.
"It is not acceptable for anyone to block roads or carry out violent acts," said Nasrallah.
"There is no use in cutting roads and we fear that someone might try to stir a problem with the army or other parties. I urge the residents of Dahiyeh and all areas not to block roads," Hizbullah’s leader added.
Nasrallah spoke after families of those abducted, along with thousands of supporters, turned out in Beirut's mainly Shiite southern suburbs to demand the release of the men.
The protesters blocked roads in the Beirut southern suburbs of al-Kafaat, Bir al-Abed, Shatila and al-Msharrafiyeh.
They also blocked the old airport road and the Jlala-Chtaura road in the Bekaa Valley.
But roads were reopened and protesters left the streets following Nasrallah’s call.
State-run National News Agency put the number of those abducted at 13.
“The operation is totally condemned and the priority is to seek ways to resolve the issue and I stress that the case is being followed by me and Speaker Nabih Berri and that we are addressing the issue with the highest level of responsibility,” Nasrallah said, addressing the families of the abductees.
Nasrallah said contacts were underway with Syrian authorities and “influential countries in the region” to ensure the safe release of the men.
"We will work day and night until those beloved are back with us and hopefully ... by cooperating together we will reach a happy ending," he said.
He added that Hizbullah was also in contact with Prime Minister Najib Miqati.
"The Lebanese state and government have a responsibility to work toward the release of those kidnapped," he said.
He also urged followers not to carry out revenge attacks against Syrians in Lebanon.
“Threatening to kidnap Syrians in Lebanon is unacceptable and religiously impermissible and it does not serve the cause,” stressed Nasrallah.
The brother of one of those kidnapped said the rebel Free Syrian Army had vowed to release the men in exchange for FSA members being held by Syrian authorities.